Use Your Spine! Effect of Active Spine Movements on Horizontal Impulse and Cost of Transport in a Bounding, Quadruped Robot

A Sprowitz, E Badri, M Khoramshahi, A Tuleu, A Ijspeert
(2013) Dynamic Walking

Within the field of quadruped robot research, much focus has been put on design of leg compliance and leg configuration [1, 2, 3, 4], and controller design [5]. Typically, design goals include robot speed, cost of transport, robustness against perturbations, and range of available speeds. Recently, research has started mimicking the spine of quadruped animals, both in the frontal and the sagittal plane. A widely accepted hypothesis predicts higher speed, resulting from active spine motion. Here we present results from hardware experiments with an active-spine equipped quadruped bounding robot, showing that through reduction of horizontal impulse the robot’s mechanical cost of transport was reduced.