Waseda University, Humanoid Robotics Institute
Advancing Humanoid Robotics Development with SOLIDWORKS Research Software
SINGLE PLATFORM, MULTIPLE ROBOTSSince implementing SOLIDWORKS Research software in 2001, HRI has accelerated the pace of robot development—introducing more than 20 humanoid robots—by working on an integrated 3D platform. These robots include the Waseda Leg series, biped locomotors for carrying handicapped and elderly people; the Waseda Jaw series, robots that mechanically simulate human mastication for understanding dental concepts; the Waseda Yamanashi series, jaw-opening and -closing robots for patients with jaw problems; the Waseda Flautist and Waseda Saxophonist series, flute and saxophone playing robots; the Waseda Talker series, robots that mechanically speak Japanese vowels and consonant sounds; and the Waseda Eye and KOBIAN series, robots that express emotion. Other HRI robots include the WABIAN-2R, a robot that walks with knee extension using a humanlike pelvis and seven degrees of freedom (DOF) leg mechanisms; the WAREC-1, a disaster rescue robot with 28 DOF; and the WL-16, a robot that can carry humans and virtually any load up to 80 kg. “HRI is more productive in developing robots with SOLIDWORKS Research software because of its range of integrated capabilities. It has increased design efficiency by three to four times,” Hashimoto says. “In 2D, we could design only simple planar structural members. Thanks to SOLIDWORKS, now we can easily design complicated robotic parts.”
LIGHT BUT STIFFHRI overcomes the primary challenge in humanoid robotic design—reducing part weight while maintaining stiffness—through the use of integrated SOLIDWORKS finite element analysis (FEA) tools. “SOLIDWORKS Simulation is essential for designing a legged robot because its weight must be as light as possible while keeping a high degree of stiffness,” Hashimoto stresses. “SOLIDWORKS design software lets us quickly calculate the center of gravity and the moment of inertia for robotic parts, information that is used for simulations, and we check parts for interferences in three dimensions. “SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation [computational fluid dynamics analysis software] is also useful when designing a cooling system for heat sources, such as actuators, motors, and drives,” Hashimoto adds.
ALL-IN-ONE MECHANICAL AND ELECTRICAL DESIGNThe substantial productivity gains that HRI has realized with SOLIDWORKS Research software also stem from the integrated, multidisciplinary nature of the software, which allows institute teams to conduct mechanical, electrical, and thermal design concurrently rather than separately. “SOLIDWORKS technology is innovative because it can handle both mechanical and electrical design with one piece of software,” Hashimoto notes. “Furthermore, various analyses are possible with SOLIDWORKS, such as structural FEA and thermal fluid-flow analyses,” Hashimoto continues. “In order to develop a sophisticated robot, we must conduct not only mechanical design but also electrical design and thermal design simultaneously. We must arrange component parts—such as a motor, reduction gear, encoders, etc.—in a limited space. Both size and weight reduction must be realized while keeping high stiffness of each part and by doing FEA analysis repeatedly. SOLIDWORKS is very useful in this design process.”
Develop humanoid robots, and conduct related robotics research efficiently, effectively, and affordably
Implement the SOLIDWORKS Research Edition suite of mechanical and electrical design solutions.
- Raised design efficiency three-to fourfold
- Realized concurrrent mechanical, electrical, and thermal design
- Increased part complexity
- Developed more than 20 robots, advancing humanoid robotic research