James Bruton’s robot centipede of many legs
Strangely, no centipede has exactly 100 legs. They can have either more or fewer than 100 legs, but not exactly 100 because they always have an odd number of pairs. Sadly, that means that James Bruton’s centipede robot is anatomically incorrect — though cool nonetheless.
Bruton built this centipede robot as a scaled-down prototype, as he plans to construct a ridable version sometime in the future. This robot, which is still quite large, let him test the unusual walking mechanisms. The robot has five segments, each of which contains two pairs of legs. The mathematicians among you will have deduced that that equals 20 individual legs. But the legs don’t operate independently. In fact, all 20 of those legs are connected mechanically. Each segment has a drive shaft that moves its legs through gears and linkages, and universal joints connect the drive shafts between segments.
That mechanical setup means that the centipede can be driven by a single DC motor. An Arduino Mega 2560 board controls that and the two servo motors used for steering. Those servos pull on elastic cords connecting the first two segments. When one cord tightens, it forces the first segment to pivot to that side (relative to the second segment). The other segments then follow naturally, letting the robot turn. All of the mechanical parts were 3D-printed and Bruton can pilot the robot using his universal remote control.
Unfortunately, this robot’s innovative leg mechanisms didn’t work very well. The feet had a tendency to slide backwards, causing huge efficiency losses. That means that Bruton will have to come up with another leg design before he can scale the robot up to a full-size ridable version.
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