Four Legged-Robot Spontaneously Changes Gait

Researchers in Japan have designed a robot that uses decentralized control to change from walking to trotting and galloping.

AsianScientist (Mar. 29, 2017) – For the first time, researchers have demonstrated that a quadruped robot can spontaneously change its steps in an energy-efficient manner by simply changing its speed. These findings have been published in Scientific Reports.

Until now, how changing speeds cause quadrupeds to change their gaits—walking, trotting and galloping—has been poorly understood. Through this study, a team of researchers led by Professor Akio Ishiguro and Assistant Professor Dai Owaki of Tohoku University have successfully demonstrated the reproduction of quadruped gait transition phenomena.

They achieved this via a decentralized control scheme, using a simple local rule in which a leg continues to support the body while sensing weight on the corresponding leg. Moreover, they confirmed that the energy-efficiency profile of the robot’s gait patterns matched those measured in horses.

The present work is expected to lead to better understanding of the mechanism of how quadrupeds can flexibly and efficiently adjust their gait when their speed is changed. The result may constitute the basis of an unconventional approach to coordinating the many degrees of freedoms required for adaptive robot locomotion.

The researchers hope that the study will lead to a wide range of applications such as adaptive legged robots working in disaster areas, user-friendly legged entertainment robots, and automatic motion-creation algorithms for computer graphics animation.

The article can be found at: Owaki & Ishiguro (2017) A Quadruped Robot Exhibiting Spontaneous Gait Transitions from Walking to Trotting to Galloping.


Source: Tohoku University.
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