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Artificial Life

Winter 2013, Vol. 19, No. 1, Pages 97-114
(doi: 10.1162/ARTL_a_00084)
© 2013 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Morphological Computation of Multi-Gaited Robot Locomotion Based on Free Vibration
Article PDF (636.67 KB)

In recent years, there has been increasing interest in the study of gait patterns in both animals and robots, because it allows us to systematically investigate the underlying mechanisms of energetics, dexterity, and autonomy of adaptive systems. In particular, for morphological computation research, the control of dynamic legged robots and their gait transitions provides additional insights into the guiding principles from a synthetic viewpoint for the emergence of sensible self-organizing behaviors in more-degrees-of-freedom systems. This article presents a novel approach to the study of gait patterns, which makes use of the intrinsic mechanical dynamics of robotic systems. Each of the robots consists of a U-shaped elastic beam and exploits free vibration to generate different locomotion patterns. We developed a simplified physics model of these robots, and through experiments in simulation and real-world robotic platforms, we show three distinctive mechanisms for generating different gait patterns in these robots.