Michael Frey, an enthusiast who makes technical animations of mechanisms, has created some wonderful animations of TrotBot's Linkage.
Some of his work is shown below:
You can see more of Michael's creations here, like his animations of engines - so cool!
As you can see in the following images, Klann's foot-speed slows down significantly at each corner of its foot-path:
This causes robots using the Klann linkage to have a halting gait, which can be a problem on higher-friction terrain at higher speeds. One solution is to add feet that passively rotate as Klann's speed varies, like Strandbeest uses.
As demonstrated in the following video, rotating feet also reduce how much the feet drag during turns, since the inner and outer feet can rotate at different speeds and function somewhat like a differential.
In case you were wondering, Klann's violent shaking on the carpeting did cause it to flip over a few times, but at least it didn't do this.
Rotating feet also improve performance on rugged terrain, since the feet are less likely to catch on obstacles. Prior to adding wheels to the feet, the Klann below couldn't take one step on those air filters without the feet catching and jamming the linkage, and if LEGO's XL motors had been used, jamming the linkage could have broken the gears.
Strandbeest's foot-speed also slows at each corner of its foot-path, but less so than Klann's:
This may be part of the reason that Theo added feet that passively rotate to Strandbeest? ( Jeez that thing is cool!)
Similar to Klann robots, adding rotating feet to LEGO Strandbeests smooths their speed:
As can be seen in the following simulation of one side of an 8-legged Strandbeest, the variation in Strandbeest's foot-speed is exaggerated when built with only 8 legs since the foot transition occurs when the feet are already lifted off the ground:
What's going on here?
Hint: ask yourself why longer levers generate more force
Bonus question: from a kinematic chain perspective, what is the bar count of this linkage?
Build pictures are here.
This summer I created a Walking Machine Curriculum for middle schoolers. I am in the final stages of its development and am piloting it at a local middle school this winter...
If you'd like to receive an early copy of it, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TrotBots with 8 legs balance by having 4 feet in contact with the ground, one at each corner of the robot. If one of these feet were removed, then TrotBot would tip, similar to what would happen if you took one wheel off of a car.
For a tripod gait to be balanced, the feet need to be arranged like an equilateral triangle, so we removed the two outer pairs of legs, and added a pair of legs to the center of TrotBot, inside the frame:
Also, we needed to adjust the timing of TrotBot's front and rear feet. As shown in the image below, hexapod robots with tripod gaits transition from one tripod to another as they walk, which requires TrotBot's front and rear feet to be 180 degrees out of phase:
However, orienting TrotBot's front and rear cranks 180 degrees out of phase won't put the feet 180 degrees out of phase, because the location of the two leg's upper frame connections relative to the cranks is in the opposite direction. Looking from the side of the robot, the left leg's upper frame connection is 49.4 degrees to the left, and the right leg's is 49.4 degrees to the right. Here's a diagram of the left leg's frame connection relative to the crank:
So, in order to have the left and right feet touching the ground at the same time the right crank would need to be rotated clockwise by 49.4 degrees x 2, or 98.8 degrees. For the foot contact to be 180 degrees out of phase, the right crank would need to be rotated a further 180 degrees, or 278.8 degrees in total, as shown in the image below.
Here's a simulation of TrotBot's legs with this 278.8 degree phase shift of the right crank: