Design by Composition for Rapid Prototyping
At first glance, a book on "Design by Composition for Rapid Prototyping" may seem out of place in a series on Robotics. However, this work has a couple of strong connections to the field of robotics and the robotics community, and I am delighted to introduce it to the series. The first connection is the motivation behind Binnard's work. Michael Binnard came to Stanford after having done his Masters thesis at the M.LT. Artificial Intelligence Lab, where he designed and built small walking robots, such as Boadicea (http://www.ai.mit.eduJprojects/boadicea/).At M.LT. he observed first-hand how difficult it is to align, connect and support standard actuators, sensors, and processors in small mobile robots. Figure lea) below shows how complicated it is just to connect a simple motor to one link of a robot leg using conventional methods. Surely there had to be a better way! Shape deposition manufacturing, an emerging rapid prototyping process, offered a possible solution. Actuators, sensors, processors and other components could be embedded directly into almost arbitrary three-dimensional shapes, without any of the fasteners and couplings that complicate the design in Figure lea). The process makes it possible to construct integrated robotic mechanisms, such as the example shown in Figure 1 (b) and the additional examples found in Chapters 7 and 8 of this monograph.