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Description

Active Scope Camera (ASC) using a linear inchworm drive, which can run on various road surfaces assumed in disaster sites, have been developed as a snake-like rescue robot. However, it is difficult for the linear inchworm drive to run in crooked narrow pathways, because its rigid body actuator reduces the flexibility of the scope camera and becomes immovable when the scope camera is curved. There are many crooked narrow pathways inside collapsed houses and under rubble. ASC's search range could be vastly expanded if ASC can run in such environments. In this paper, we developed a flexible linear actuator, which has the bellows structure and the hollow structure, for ASC in order to solve these problems. The actuator was able to generate large force more than 6 N from 60 kPa of applied pressure even if it was curved at 200 mm bending radius. Moreover, we developed a flexible linear inchworm drive using this actuator.The flexible linear inchworm drive keeps the running characteristics on the various road surfaces of the conventional linear inchworm drive. The minimum width of 80 deg crooked pathway that the flexible linear inchworm drive could run through was 60 mm, which was one-thirds narrower than that of the conventional inchworm drive.

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