David Zarrouk, a researcher at Ben Gurion University in Israel, is known for developing robots with minimal actuators inside. The latest highly mobile robot with minimal actuators he has developed is called a reconfigurable continuous-orbiting robot (RCTR). The robot uses an extra actuator to try to change its entire shape one by one.
A single additional actuator establishes a track in the air as the robot moves forward. THE RCTR USES A SERIES OF FLEXIBLE LINKS THAT MOVE BETWEEN ACTUATORS. Each chain link has a locking pin, and when the track chain section crosses it, depending on who sets the actuator, the pin can be joined to make the chain joint angle zero or 20 degrees.
The linked locking turns the robot from flexible to stiff and allows the RCTR to lift and cross obstacles. The rear of the robot has a passive system that releases the locking pins on each linkage to reset the track’s flexibility as it passes through the top of the robot’s rear.
One drawback of current robot design is that it cannot be manipulated. There are several ways to correct this, including the use of non-slip steering like a track edgy vehicle. The team is working on motion planning algorithms for handling various terrains. The team needs to figure out how to get the best combination of rigid and flexible links to overcome obstacles. It also needs to figure out how to make robots easy to operate while keeping them simple.