Showcased at — Made in Brunel 2017
PHANTASM — ROBOTICS IN SOCIETY
Originally conceived as a concept acting under the theme “What if Robots were developed by Fashion Designers”, the project’s inspiration was sourced from the stereotypically impractical nature of runway fashion collections. The desire was to explore the mindset of an individual who focusses on design aesthetics, and how they would approach a task that is dependant on efficiency and practicality.
FRAMEWORK FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE
The motivation for the project’s physical manifestation stemmed from the desire to develop a public-assistance system that possessed the potential to be introduced into society. Available to all, the system acts to empower the user with a sense of freedom to complete their daily activities, including tasks such as localised courier services, mobility support and navigation assistance.
DESIGN INSPIRATION AND EVOLUTION
Delving into the natural world for inspiration, a spread of fauna were studied to extract vital traits and anatomical elements that could be adapted for practical and aesthetic use in the final design; further inspiration was also taken from the realm of science-fiction. The current configuration is largely based on an arachnid-style skeletal structure with elements of amphibian, and insect-inspired design.
ELECTRONIC DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT
Developed alongside the robot, the project’s electronics were miniaturised by producing them as dual-layer PCBs populated with surface mount components. In the interest of practicality, the boards were also modularised to simplify the process of extraction in the event of a circuit failure or hardware upgrade, where only the targeted PCB would be removed from the system.
DEVELOPING ROBOTIC MOTION
When planning the characteristics for motion, the structure of the legs were chosen for two fundamental reasons: optimal ground clearance, and the reduction of the strain on the servo motors when active. The initial incline was towards a single-step gait, where the system would shift its C.O.G to remain balanced as it moved, however after sampling an adequate quantity of data from the experiment, the development of a two-step gait was pursued which provided an increase in speed and practicality.
FREE TALK AND CLOSING REMARKS
I have always possessed a fascination with robotic systems, and the process of building an inanimate object, and effectively ‘bringing it to life’ is quite an exciting and greatly fulfilling task. One of the fundamental aims of the project was to share this experience so that individuals may feel inspired, and gain an appreciation for a future where robotic systems are accessible to the general population.