project specification

Pneuborn

A pneumatic musculoskeletal infant robot with the body size that corresponds to that of a seven-month-old infant. The robot can teach itself to crawl, sit, and stand using pattern generators and learning algorithms. The target tasks of the robot are basic locomotion like rolling over and crawling, which are acquired at the age of around seven months. The skeletal structure, muscle alignment, and range of motion are designed on the basis of functional anatomy, biomechanics, and observation of real human babies. The robot is autonomous and contains a micro controller, air solenoid valves, battery, air source (CO2 cartridge bottle). If the robot is required to move for long hours, air is supplied by an external air compressor.

Specifications

Height80 cm
Weight6.4 kg
ActuatorsMcKibben pneumatic artificial muscles
PowerLithium-polymer battery
Degrees of freedom26
Muscles32
ComputingRenesas H8-3069 microcontroller
Controller PU : SH7125 Solenoid valve : SYJ3320×30 (SMC Co.)
Air sourceCO2cartridge / air compressor

Overview

The robot can teach itself to crawl, sit, and stand using pattern generators and learning algorithms. The target tasks of the robot are basic locomotion like rolling over and crawling, which are acquired at the age of around seven months. 

Skeleton

The skeletal structure, muscle alignment, and range of motion are designed on the basis of functional anatomy, biomechanics, and observation of real human babies. The robot is autonomous and contains a micro controller, air solenoid valves, battery, air source (CO2 cartridge bottle). If the robot is required to move for long hours, air is supplied by an external air compressor.

The hand has five fingers, each of that has three joints. A total of 15 joints of the hand are driven by a pair of muscles via polyethylene wires so that the hand movement is limited only to clench and unclench. The foot has five fingers, all of which moves at the same time as well as those of the hand.

McKibben muscle

The robot uses McKibben pneumatic muscles as actuators that make up the artificial musculoskeletal system. The McKibben pneumatic muscle consists of an inner rubber tube and an outer nylon sleeve, contracts when compressed air is supplied to the inner tube. Edges of some pneumatic muscles are connected to wires, which are guided by metal tube so that the directions of the tensions of the muscles are easily modulated.

Artificial skin system

The metal skeleton of the arm are covered by cylindrical wooden frames. This frame is covered by a skin unit, which is made of two layers of flexible urethane gel and multiple strain gauges between the urethane layers.

References

Design concept of an infant-sized musculoskeletal robots driven by McKibben pneumatic artificial muscles. You will also find examples that show how the musculoskeletal infant robot can be a good platform to investigate motion development.

K. Narioka, R. Niiyama, Y. Ishii, et al.- 2009.

This study describes the development of infantrobot platform ”Pneuborn-7III” and focusses on the flexibility of the infant’s body, flexible musculoskeletal system and skin system which are implemented by utilizing McKibben pneumatic actuators and urethane gel.

K Narioka, K Hosoda, S. Moriyama, et al.- 2011.

Wevolver 2022