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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

Robot Design for Dummies


A new interactive design tool permits the creation of customized legged or wheeled robots.

Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute researchers have developed an interactive design tool for the creation of customized legged or wheeled robots using three-dimensionally-printed components and commercially available actuators.

Credit: Carnegie Mellon University

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's (CMU) Robotics Institute have developed a new interactive design tool that enables both novices and experts to build customized legged or wheeled robots using three-dimensionally-printed components and commercially available actuators.

The team says the system includes a familiar drag-and-drop interface, enabling users to choose from a library of components and place them into the design.

In addition, the tool suggests components that are interoperable with each other, as well as offering potential placements of actuators, and it can automatically generate structural components to connect those actuators.

After the design is complete, the tool provides a physical simulation environment to test the robot before fabricating it.

"The system makes it easy to experiment with different body proportions and motor configurations, and see how these decisions affect the robot's ability to do certain tasks," says CMU's Ruta Desai.

From Carnegie Mellon University
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