Publications / 2013 Proceedings of the 30th ISARC, Montréal, Canada

Bio-Inspired Burrowing Mechanism for Underground Locomotion Control

S. M. Moon, S. W. Hwang, S. M. Yoon, J. HUH, D. Hong
Pages 198-205 (2013 Proceedings of the 30th ISARC, Montréal, Canada, ISBN 978-1-62993-294-1, ISSN 2413-5844)

Today, underground exploration is spotlighted as an infinitely developable area. For this purpose, many tunneling technologies were created. And until this very day, many techniques are being developed for more efficient underground movement. Although previous technologies have been developed and now being used in various forms like TMB, struck propulsion method and hydraulic propulsion method, it is hard to find a robot type exploring in small scale. But development of small scale underground exploration robot is a promising research subject for its usage in examination of soil, mineral, and subterranean resources, investigation of hazardous regions, and the military. So we developed a robot that can dig and move underground, inspired from the motion of earthworm and mole cricket. Earthworm and mole cricket dig the soil in the front and draw it off backward, so that they can move forward.

We developed a mechanism that uses 2 rotating solid of revolution (bits) for pulverizing the firmly united soil in the front and put it inside the body. The bits rotate in the opposite direction of each other. While moving forward, the soil in the front moves along the spiral on the bit and is saved inside the body. The soil saved inside is taken out through an outlet in the back by a ventilation system. The ventilation system on the ground blows through a hosepipe connected to inner part of the robot and the air blows off the soil. The moving mechanism of exploring underground can be classified into 2 parts. One is to fix the blade link on the soil in a form of 4-bar link. The other one is to move forward rotating the whole link. When the blade link system for movement rotates a certain degree, one blade link is fixed, while the other one is folded in. When 2 blade links of different length rotate as it is, different torque is applied on each link. By the law of action and reaction, the link that has larger torque leads the rotation and movement.

Keywords: Burrowing robot, Underground locomotion, Bio-inspired robot