Friday, July 4, 2008

The Roots

As you can see below, our project group is a true student team. Andi, Martin, and Oliver constitute the core. They all just finished their Bachelor’s degree and agreed to work full time on the LRC project until they will continue with their Master’s. They will get additional support from a number of PhDs from our lab, and other undergrad and graduate students who, over some duration of time, will extend the team and contribute to specific subtasks.
Our LRC platform is based on the undergrad design project of Andi, Martin, and Atilla Yilmaz. During the last semester, they were developing a quadrupedal robot with series elastic actuation on the main joints of the legs. The goal was to develop a walking machine that is able to passively adapt to irregular terrain while walking statically, and can additionally use its elasticities to store energy during dynamic locomotion. Without knowing of the Lunar Robotics Challenge, they had named the robot ALF, already foreseeing that its future will not be limited to earth.
The project was a great success and we are certain, that a similar robot will perform well in the Lunar Robotics challenge. However, it is evident that we’re not even half way there yet. Major adaptations, improvements, and extensions have to be made to the original design, to get ALF space ready. This task will occupy us over the next couple of months.

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