Abstract

We introduce and define a new family of mobile robots called BAR (Buoyancy Assisted Robots) that are cheap, safe, and will never fall down. BARs utilize buoyancy from lighter-than-air gases as a way to support the weight of the robot for locomotion. A new BAR robot named BLAIR (Buoyant Legged Actuated Inverted Robot) whose buoyancy is greater than its weight is also presented in this paper. BLAIRs can walk “upside-down” on the ceiling, providing unique advantages that no other robot platforms can. Unlike other legged robots, the mechanics of how BARs walk is fundamentally different. We also perform a preliminary investigation for BARs. This includes comparing safety, cost, and energy consumption with other commercially available robots. Additionally, the preliminary investigation also includes analyzing previous works relating to BARs. A dynamical analysis is performed on the novel robot BLAIR. This is presented to show the impacts of buoyant and drag forces on BLAIRs. Preliminary analysis with the prevalence of drag is presented with simulations using a genetic algorithm and simulations. Results show that BARs with different mechanisms prefer different styles of walking gaits such as prancing or skipping. This work lays the foundation for future research work on the gaits for BARs.

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