Vibrot, a simple device for the conversion of vibration into rotation mediated by friction: preliminary evaluation
While ¿vibrational noise¿ induced by rotating components of machinery is a common problem constantly faced by engineers, the controlled conversion of translational into rotational motion or vice-versa is a desirable goal in many scenarios ranging from internal combustion engines to ultrasonic motors. In this work, we describe the underlying physics after isolating a single degree of freedom, focusing on devices that convert a vibration along the vertical axis into a rotation around this axis. A typical Vibrot (as we label these devices) consists of a rigid body with three or more cantilevered elastic legs attached to its bottom at an angle. We show that these legs are capable of transforming vibration into rotation by a ¿ratchet effect¿, which is caused by the anisotropic stick-slip-flight motion of the leg tips against the ground. Drawing an analogy with the Froude number used to classify the locomotion dynamics of legged animals, we discuss the walking regime of these robots. We are able to control the rotation frequency of the Vibrot by manipulating the shaking amplitude, frequency or waveform. Furthermore, we have been able to excite Vibrots with acoustic waves, which allows speculating about the possibility of reducing the size of the devices so they can perform tasks into the human body, excited by ultrasound waves from the outside.