Rover for a Moon House
The ambitious House on the Moon project aims to put a cottage on the moon. The project requires the house to be placed on the moon and a panoramic photo of the house and the Earth to be taken and transmitted back to Earth. As a step in the conceptual stage of the project, the senior year students in the Robotics Engineering Programme where given the task of constructing a robot that would accomplish the feat. Adding to the already demanding task were the size and weight restrictions. The robot must not exceed a volume of 5 litres, and weigh no more than 2,5 kilos. Additionally, it is required to carry and deploy a payload of the same size and weight.
As limiting as these specifications were, they were the only limitations put on the robot. The students quickly came up with several ideas of which they decided on two for prototyping. The four-legged rover won out over an armed digger (less convincing prototype) mostly due to the adaptability to the terrain and the flexible/foldable construction. The rover consists of a rectangular frame with four legs in each corner. Each leg contains four small motors which give the wheels 4 degrees of freedom and great manoeuvring ability.
In order to minimize the weight and maximize the structural strength, an aluminium chassis was designed. The chassis was constructed to withstand the forces of the final rover, should it be launched into space. The decision to make it in aluminium should prove unfortunate, as this put great demands on the tools and the construction team, and hence delayed the completion. Therefore, the final version was not ready at project final presentation. However, the team members learned a great deal and the finished version is a true feat of engineering.
The final (aluminium) version of the robot is under works to be used in a project for developing a system to compete in the RoboCup@home competition.
The pictures below show the prototype and the presentation at the end of the project: