Zagreb Student Creates Car Powered by Pneumatic ”Muscles”

Lauren Simmonds

FSB’s Zagreb student, Šime Grbić, has created an autonomous robotic car that uses compressed air and pneumatic ”muscles” to drive, thrilling international innovators.

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 26th of May, 2019, among the more than 600 innovations from 35 countries around the world at the tenth anniversary of EuroInvent, the largest European innovation exhibition recently held in Romania, excellent success has been achieved by Zagreb student Šime Grbić, a young innovator and student FSB Zagreb, otherwise from the Dalmatian city of Zadar, who won six medals for his project of a vehicle powered by pneumatic ”muscles”.

This year he enrolled at Zagreb’s FSB to head in the direction of Mechatronic Engineering and Robotics, and the backbone of his final work on his undergraduate studies was the subject of the designing and driving of pressurised vehicles. His mentor prof.dr. Željko Šitum recognised the potential of the project and encouraged Šime to partake in EuroInvent, which turned out to be a significant and unprecedented success. In this paper, the innovator points out, the knowledge gained during his studies was well applied, and Grbić was particularly interested in the development of robotics and autonomous vehicles.

”Given the fact that I come from a working family, I’d always helped my dad out in the garage by repairing various machines, so I came into contact with practical design and learned a lot because there was no opportunity for practical work in school,” this successful Zagreb student stated. This was his first appearance at an international show and as such, his first prize. “I was helped out by my mentor, the company Festo, which donated components for making it, FSB Zagreb’s Mechatronic Association, and my parents and my girlfriend who boosted my morale and sometimes financial support,” Šime said.

This innovative Zagreb student returned from EuroInvent with many medals, and the top of the top is the gold medal of EuroInvent. His vehicle powered by pneumatic muscles is the model of an autonomous vehicle or a mobile robot that uses compressed air for its start up and running. The air is controlled by its valves in its pneumatic muscles, which, by their contraction, rotate the crankshaft of the vehicle and thus drive the vehicle.

“The rotation is solved by the help of a linear pneumatic stepper motor, which is a new type of pneumatic actuator proposed by a professor from the University of Twente in the Netherlands, which has enabled us to have a proper geometry of turning and rotating the vehicle’s interior and exterior wheels,” Šime states. As compressed pressure is used for the drive, the vehicle is also more environmentally friendly because it has no harmful emissions.

“The application can be part of a hybrid vehicle or as a mobile robot for inspection in explosive atmospheres where sparking can lead to ignition or explosion,” says Grbić. Mobile pneumatic robots are relatively new in the world of robotics, but he believes that there is plenty of room for further development and progress.

“For the time being, these vehicles are mostly found as experimental setups and as a visualisation of engineering know-how and skills, just as there is in the field of mobile robotics and pneumatic robots as a whole, there is still room for improvement, but also for further application and for use,” the talented Zagreb student states.

His car is now nearing completion, and further upgrade is said to be expected in the software industry where he would like to add some functions like a remote control, so it isn’t only autonomous.

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Click here for the original article by Lucija Spiljak for Poslovni Dnevnik


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