Design of Topology Optimized Compliant Legs for Bio-Inspired Quadruped Robots

Yilun Sun, PhD
Technical University of Munich, Germany
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Robotic legs are an important component of the quadruped robot for achieving different motion gaits. Although the conventional rigid-link-based legs can generally perform robust motions, they still have the issues with poor sealing when operating in complex and liquid terrains. To cope with this problem, fully compliant legs with monolithic structure have been introduced in recent years to improve the system compactness and structural compliance of quadruped robots. In this work, we present a topology-optimization-based method to achieve efficient design of compliant robotic legs. In order to balance the structural stiffness and bending flexibility of the realized leg, a multi-objective optimization algorithm is utilized. A series of design cases are presented to illustrate the design principle and analytical procedure of the proposed method. In addition, experimental evaluation is also performed, and the results have demonstrated that, a quadruped robot with the optimized legs can successfully achieve stable and continuous straight-line walking motions.

Yilun Sun received the B.Sc. degree in mechanical engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China, in 2013, and the Dr.-Ing. degree in mechanical engineering from the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany, in 2021. He is currently a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at the Institute of Micro Technology and Medical Device Technology (MiMed) in TUM. His research interests include bio-robotics, soft robotics, medical robotics, and 3D-printing technologies. He received the grade summa cum laude for his doctor thesis. He was also the finalist of Best Student Paper Award at the 2019 IEEE International Conference on Cyborg and Bionic Systems.