Robot Wrangling

Snake Monster

Years active: 2015 - Present

Purpose: “Snake monster” is a modular legged robot built with the series-elastic actuated modules, along with any static links, grippers, cameras, feet, or other modules attached to a central chassis, either with tethered or battery power. Snake monster can walk over rough terrain and can be rapidly reconfigured to use different number of limbs, claws, sensors, or payloads, depending on the application. This could make it useful in the future as a rapid response tool for search and rescue, or for remotely inspecting or repairing infrastructure in hazardous environments like defunct nuclear power plants.

Outcomes: This robot has been used with anywhere between two and twelve limbs, for a wide range of research topics including gait generation, compliant control, mobile manipulation, reinforcement learning, and mobile perception. It was demonstrated at the DARPA robotics challenge, and since then at a variety of other events around the country.

My role: I maintain this robot and use it for research in gait generation, compliant control, mobile manipulation.

Fun facts: I like to give this robot piggyback rides by having it cling to my waist and shoulders.

Series-Elastic Actuated Snake Robot ("SEA-Snake")

Years active: 2012 - Present

Purpose: Series-elastic actuated snake robot (SEA-snake) is a modular snake robot composed of any number of modules arranged in a chain. The head typically carries a sensor package including a camera with LED lights.

Outcomes: This robot is used for research projects on compliant control and mobility, especially in unstructured terrain or confined spaces. Its two-inch diameter profile, and ability to wrap around poles, allows it to move through both the outsides and insides of pipe networks.

My role: I maintain this robot and use it for research in compliant control.

Unified Snake Robot ("U-Snake")

Years active: 2008 - Present

Purpose: The Biorobotics Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University has developed snake robots over the past 20 years. Snake-like robots can access confined spaces due to their narrow diameter, yet can also traverse a wide range of terrain challenges including climbing trees or poles, piles of rubble, stairs, or flat open regions. The lab iterated on designs to produce a model called the unified snake robot or ``U-snake'' for short. In its 16-module configuration it is approximately three feet long and two inches in diameter. The robot's head module contains a camera and LEDs. The tail module connects the robot to its power and communications tether.

Outcomes: The U-snake has been deployed in scenarios including for search and rescue training, nuclear inspection, and archaeology. The robot has also been used for biology and bio-inspired engineering research.

My role: I have demonstrated this robot at various robotics, outreach, and political events. I traveled with two other lab members to deploy this robot in a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City in Sept. 2017.

Fun facts: Our favorite demonstration of the U-snake’s abilities is to climb up a person’s leg. Over the years the robot has climbed many people’s legs, including politicians, CEOs, and on live TV, Jimmy Fallon’s leg.

Snake-like arm

Years active: 2015 - Present

Purpose: This robot positions a camera or other sensor package confined spaces for inspection tasks. It can be easily attached to other robots.

My role: Some controls programming and maintenance.

Ball-picker arm

Years active: 2017

Purpose: Arm that used air suction to move mis-sorted color balls into sorted bins. Overhead and eye-in-hand camera with cloud-based data collection. Final project for class “Robotic Systems and Internet of Things.”

My role: Programmed arm motion and eye-in-hand camera.

Cornell LIMS M3 Walking Machine and hydraulic limbs

Years active: 2014-15

Purpose: Research hydraulic technology, including actuators, valves, and humanoid gaits under the supervision of Prof. Ephrahim Garica (deceased).

My role: Designed and built the treadmill and tether system, and a testbed for variable recruitment hydraulic muscles. Assembled and programmed a single limb testbed.

Outcomes: This robot and its associated test beds resulted in a few publications, and a demonstration at the DARPA robotics challenge exhibition track.