About Project

Sabertooth Robotics is a senior design team composed of five engineering students from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. We are working on an innovative robotics project whose scope is to design a high mobility, quadruped robot capable of traversing terrain otherwise impassable by wheeled vehicles. Specifically, the robot will be able to ascend and descend stairs with a predetermined gait. With each step, the robot will be able to recover power lost during that step using a spring system.

This 4’x4’x2’ four legged robot will be freestanding and weigh approximately 150 pounds.  The robot will have three motors on each leg, equating to three total degrees of freedom.  Each leg will consist of three links including joints at the ankle, knee, and hip. These joints will use simulated tendons in order to recover power lost with each step.  Power is normally lost in legged robots when pressure is applied to a walking surface. Instead our robot will store energy in spring systems in the leg joints to be released in the next step.  The robot will also contain an actuated spine in order to allow flexibility going around tight corners as well as ascending stairs.

The robot will incorporate a computer vision system for staircase recognition, obstacle avoidance, and distance calculation. We will use a video camera to provide feed to an on-board processor, which will implement object recognition algorithms to recognize where a staircase is relative to the robot. Once the position of the staircase is known, a LIDAR sensor will be used to produce a three dimensional map of the staircase to calculate the distance to the staircase and any obstacles between the robot and the stairs. This data will be used to determine an optimal path from the robot to the stairs. After arriving at the staircase, another map will be produced to calculate the rise and run of the staircase, to be used for determining the gait the robot will use to climb the staircase.

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