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Abstract

Treebot is the first tree-climbing robot that is capable of climbing from a tree trunk to a branch. The robot employs several design principles adapted from arboreal animals, including claw gripping and inchworm locomotion, with a certain artificial optimization to achieve high maneuverability on irregular-shaped trees. Treebot is composed of a pair of tree grippers that permits Treebot to attach to a wide variety of trees with a wide range of gripping curvature, and a novel continuum maneuvering structure that provides high maneuverability and adaptability. In the robot actuation, only five actuators are necessary. Although Treebot weighs only 600 gr, it has a payload capability of 1.75 kg, which is nearly three times its own weight. This paper describes the design process and specifically addresses the robot locomotion and optimization of gripping force. Experimental results demonstrate the robot's ability to climb trees with high maneuverability. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.