I worked on a VelociRoACH project for over 100 hours. This included fabrication and testing of foot spines, design and fabrication of test platforms, manufacturing of fiberglass, reporting results to a research lab, testing static friction of foot spines, taking slow-motion footage, and climbing of a step the same height as the robot. The step-climbing project took an iterative approach and finally ended in changing the robot gait, adding metal spines, adding fiberglass belly spines, molding heavier and stiffer polyurethane feet, and adding larger spines for the feet.
The project turned out to have the VelociRoACH demonstrate similar dynamics to a cricket’s, which I researched the previous summer. The cricket uses spines on its middle and front legs to grab onto a substrate, then its long strong back legs to “wind up” and push forward, utilizing spines on all its legs. My research the previous summer involved cutting spines off the cricket and filming to reverse engineer how the cricket used its anisotropic features to keep it a agile and strong jumper.