Original Paper

Biological Cybernetics

, Volume 107, Issue 3, pp 309-320

Horse-like walking, trotting, and galloping derived from kinematic Motion Primitives (kMPs) and their application to walk/trot transitions in a compliant quadruped robot

  • Federico L. MoroAffiliated withDepartment of Advanced Robotics, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) Email author 
  • , Alexander SpröwitzAffiliated withBiorobotics Laboratory, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
  • , Alexandre TuleuAffiliated withBiorobotics Laboratory, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
  • , Massimo VespignaniAffiliated withBiorobotics Laboratory, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
  • , Nikos G. TsagarakisAffiliated withDepartment of Advanced Robotics, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT)
  • , Auke J. IjspeertAffiliated withBiorobotics Laboratory, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
  • , Darwin G. CaldwellAffiliated withDepartment of Advanced Robotics, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT)

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Abstract

This manuscript proposes a method to directly transfer the features of horse walking, trotting, and galloping to a quadruped robot, with the aim of creating a much more natural (horse-like) locomotion profile. A principal component analysis on horse joint trajectories shows that walk, trot, and gallop can be described by a set of four kinematic Motion Primitives (kMPs). These kMPs are used to generate valid, stable gaits that are tested on a compliant quadruped robot. Tests on the effects of gait frequency scaling as follows: results indicate a speed optimal walking frequency around 3.4 Hz, and an optimal trotting frequency around 4 Hz. Following, a criterion to synthesize gait transitions is proposed, and the walk/trot transitions are successfully tested on the robot. The performance of the robot when the transitions are scaled in frequency is evaluated by means of roll and pitch angle phase plots.

Keywords

Quadrupedal locomotion Kinematic Motion Primitives (kMPs) Horse-like gaits Gait transitions Compliant quadruped robot