Improved Traction for a Mobile Robot Traveling on the Heart
This document describes the effects of several design parameters on the traction generated by the suction pads of a mobile robot that walks on the surface of the heart. HeartLander is a miniature mobile robot that adheres to the epicardial surface of the heart using suction, and can travel to any desired location on the heart to administer therapeutic applications. To maximize the effectiveness of locomotion, the gripper pads must provide sufficient traction to avoid slipping. Our testing setup measured the force applied to the gripper pad adhering to ovine epicardial tissue, and recorded overhead video for tracking of the pad and tissue during an extension. By synchronizing the force and video data, we were able to determine the point at which the pad lost traction and slipped during the extension. Of the pads tested, the pad with no suction grate achieved maximum traction. Increasing the extension speed up to 20 mm/s resulted in a corresponding increase in traction. Increasing the vacuum pressure also improved the traction, but the magnitude of the effect was less than the improvement gained from increasing extension speed.