Legs are ideal for moving smoothly and rapidly on uneven, natural terrain. However, when the ground is flat, wheels are a better choice. Using NI LabVIEW software and NI CompactRIO hardware, the Bio-Inspired Robotic Laboratory (BioRoLa) team at National Taiwan University created a robot, Quattroped, which can switch between the two.
CompactRIO was used to power the robot’s computation functions. The CompactRIO system was connected to temperature, voltage and current measurement, Hall effect, infrared, and other sensors used to improve the robot’s perception ability. It was also connected to actuators on the robot that include eight DC brushed motors for driving the robot, two high-torque RC servos for front leg-wheel turning, and four small RC servos and four small DC brushed motors for leg-wheel switching.
The team found the LabVIEW graphical programming interface easy for students to construct logic flow followed by coding and to understand the programs created by other developers. Moreover, the integration between LabVIEW and NI hardware significantly reduced the time and effort for developers to perform system integration. More of the project details are outlined in the IEEE Robotics Conference paper and the full case study on ni.com.
Skip to 0:53 to see the robot in action: