Dynamically Stable Legged Locomotion.
Interim rept. no. 2, 1 Oct 81-31 Dec 82,
CARNEGIE-MELLON UNIV PITTSBURGH PA ROBOTICS INST
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Humans and animals use their legs to locomote with great mobility, but we do not yet have a full understanding of how they do so. One sign of our ignorance is the lack man-made vehicles that use legs to obtain high mobility. A legged vehicle might someday travel in difficult terrain, where softness or bumpiness makes wheeled and tracked vehicles ineffective. The research reported here was designed to address both the scientific problem of understanding how living legged systems operate, and the engineering problem of how to build useful legged vehicles. Our research strategy is to focus on the problems of balance and dynamic stability, while postponing to later the study of gait and coupling among many legs. To do this we have modeled, simulated, and built a number of systems that hop and balance on just one leg. In the one-legged regime balance is of paramount importance, while coordination and coupling do not apply. A secondary strategy has been to examine systems with springy legs, so that the role of resonant oscillatory leg behavior might be better understood. The main thrusts of the work during the past year has been to do experiments on a physical 2D one-legged hopping system that balances as it runs, to simulate a 3D one-legged system, to build a physical 3D machine for future experiments, and to refine our previous theoretical work on 2D balance. This report is a collection of five separate papers that describe these projects.
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