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MORPHbots: Lightweight Modular Self-Reconfigurable Robotics for Space Assembly, Inspection, and Servicing
 

Summary: 1
MORPHbots: Lightweight Modular Self-Reconfigurable
Robotics for Space Assembly, Inspection, and Servicing
David L. Akin*, Brian Roberts, Stephen Roderick, Walter Smith, and Jean-Marc Henriette
Space Systems Laboratory, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742
Under support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the University of
Maryland Space Systems Laboratory has been developing advanced miniaturized robotics
for dexterous space operations. The final robotic architecture, now in prototype form, is a
highly modular system capable of self-reconfiguration. These "MORPHbots" are composed
of standardized actuator, sensor, and computational modules, interconnected by
androgynous interface mechanisms capable of being actuated by the robots themselves. In a
microsatellite configuration, a six degree-of-freedom serial manipulator with
interchangeable end effectors has a total mass of only 10 kg, but is capable of performing
assembly and servicing work typically performed by astronauts in pressure suits. Due to the
modular nature of the system, a failed component can be easily removed and replaced with
another unit, or the entire kinematics of the arm can be changed to better perform a given
task. In a "depot" situation, a collection of MORPHbot components stocked on an orbital
platform can be used to assemble a wide variety of robotic systems, optimized for specific
operational requirements, such as structural assembly or satellite servicing. This paper
presents the MORPHbot concept in detail, along with samples of MORPHbot configurations

  

Source: Akin, David - Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Maryland at College Park

 

Collections: Engineering