Abstract: Despite substantial progress in robotic systems over the
past couple of decades, animals continue to set the standard for locomotion
prowess in unknown and cluttered environments, whether they are natural or
man-made. Finely tuned legged systems
that explicitly exploit their body’s natural dynamics have begun to rival
specific performance criteria, such as speed over smooth terrain, of the most
accomplished biological systems. Our
ability, however to mimic their ability to operate in a multi-modal fashion
(running, climbing, leaping, flying, and/or crawling, etc.) severely limits our
locomotive ability in complex environments.
In this talk I will address some of the issues associated with the
design of these systems, including identifying and anchoring appropriate
low-dimensional dynamic models and efficient exploitation of available onboard
power for fast and stable locomotion.