Published online by Cambridge University Press: 30 October 2018
This paper presents the design, analysis, and experimental validation of a miniature modular inchworm robot (MMIR). Inchworm robots are capable of maneuvering in confined spaces due to their small size, a desirable characteristic for surveillance, exploration and search and rescue operations. This paper presents two generations of the MMIR (Version 1—V1 and Version 2—V2) that utilize anisotropic friction skin and an undulatory rectilinear gait to produce locomotion. This paper highlights design improvements and a multi-body dynamics approach to model and simulate the system. The MMIR V2 incorporates a slider-crank four-bar mechanism and a relative body revolute joint to produce high-frequency relative translation and rotation to increase forward velocity and enable turning capabilities. Friction analysis and locomotion experiments were conducted to assess the systems performance on various surfaces, validate the dynamic model and simulation results, and measure the maximum forward velocity. The MMIR V1 and V2 were able to achieve maximum forward velocities of 12.7 mm/s and 137.9 mm/s, respectively. These results are compared to reported results of similar robots published in the literature.