Worcester Polytechnic Institute Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection

Title page for ETD etd-061312-185944

Document Typethesis
Author NameYoungsma, Katiegrace
TitleDevelopment of a Model and Simulation Framework for a Modular Robotic Leg
DepartmentRobotics Engineering
  • Taskin Padir, Advisor
  • William Michalson, Committee Member
  • Michael Gennert, Committee Member
  • Keywords
  • robots
  • reconfigurable
  • modular
  • Matlab
  • SimMechanics
  • Date of Presentation/Defense2012-06-06
    Availability unrestricted


    As research in the field of mobile robotics continues to advance, legged robots in different forms and shapes find a variety of applications on rough terrain where wheeled robots fail to operate in practice. For this reason, a modular legged robot platform is being developed at WPI. This research focuses on developing a mathematical model and then building a simulation to verify the model for a single leg for this platform. The robot platform is modular in the sense that leg modules can be removed and added to predetermined ports on the robot chassis. The modularity of a legged robot is a significant advancement in mobile robotics technology as it enables a single robot to take on different body configurations depending on circumstances and environment to achieve its goals. It also poses a challenge in terms of overall design as it requires autonomous operation of the leg. The goal for this research is to in part fulfill the need for a mathematical model for an autonomous leg. This research investigates the development of a kinematic and dynamic model for the leg, a step trajectory for walking, a simulation of the system to verify the dynamic model, and various functions and scripts to identify shortcomings within the model. This research uses Mathworks Matlab and Wolfram Mathematica to develop the mathematical model, and Matlab Simulink SimMechanics and Matlab functions to build a simulation. Both the mathematical model and simulation follow the classic design of other legged robots, utilizing Lagrangian dynamics, the Jacobian, and simulation tools. The result is a project that is unique in that it drives a robot leg almost independently with very limited communication to a central controller.

  • kgyoungsma.pdf

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