I have constructed the mechanical housing for the robotic tentacle. Here’s the general theory:
- Control lines are paired off by diametric opposites–that is, the symmetric opposite of one another, through the diameter of the tentacle.
- Each pair is fed to a single stepper motor, and is linked to a spool on the opposite side of the shaft. The effect of this is that when you turn a motor, one control line is gathered while the other is slackened. This is possible because as you contract one side of the tentacle, the other expands at the same rate (details of that math to follow).
- In order to manage the linking between the control lines and the motors, a ‘translation plate’ was introduced to align the control lines to their appropriate motors.
Here’s the first basic motor movement.
There was some troubleshooting on the hardware side we had to do in terms of correcting the voltage and amperage delivered to the motor. Luckily, Surjith (picture in the video) has some experience in EE, so we were able to get everything (approximately) correct.
It was a good group session, where we got a lot of initial things working! A few more pictures of the team below.