Mechanism as Mind : What Tensegrities and Caterpillars Can Teach Us about Soft Robotics The Manduca Sexta Caterpillar : Morphological Communication in Tensegrity Robots

  • Rieffel J
  • Trimmer B
  • Lipson H
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With recent advances inmaterials, interest is being applied to the idea of robots with few if any rigid parts, able to substan- tially deform themselves in order to flow around, and even through objects. In order to accomplish these goals in an ef- ficient and affordable manner, space and power will be at a premium, and so soft robots will most likely be both under- actuated and under-controlled. One approach to actuation and control lies in embodying portions of both tasks within the structural dynamics of the robot itself. Such morphologi- cal computation is known to exist throughout the biological world, from the behavior of cellular cytoskeletons up to the tendinous network of the human hand. Here we present two examples of morphological computation - one from biology, the manduca sexta caterpillar, and one from engineering, a modular tensegrity tower - and explore how ideas from these realms can be applied toward locomotion and control of a highly articulate, under-controlled, soft robot.

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  • SCOPUS: 2-s2.0-77951448527
  • SGR: 77951448527
  • PUI: 368462372
  • ISBN: 9780262750172


  • John Rieffel

  • Barry Trimmer

  • Hod Lipson

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