Design and analysis of varied gaits in elastic vibratory milli-robots

  • Jinhong Qu
  • Buyi Zhang
  • Kenn R. OldhamEmail author
Regular Paper


This paper introduces a simple centimeter-scale robot design that uses one or more pairs of piezoelectric, simultaneously-actuated legs to achieve multiple terrestrial gaits, notably jumping and running. The robot is designed for rapid prototyping using a planar geometry that has potential to be transferred to smaller-scales based on micro-fabrication processes, while allowing study of dynamics and control of elastic robot locomotion. Assembled robots are tested in jumping and running, with dynamic responses measured and compared to simulation from a numerical dynamic model. Energy costs of locomotion under various frequency and voltage scenarios are evaluated. Observed behavior emphasizes the impact of synchronizing leg motion in realizing certain gaits, despite the presence of fabrication variability. Scaling of robot dynamics and power consumption is briefly discussed to introduce possible outcomes for future robots manufactured at dimensions representative of microelectromechanical system (MEMS) transducers.


Micro-robotics Rapid prototyping Piezoelectric actuation Dynamics 



The authors thank the National Science Foundation, award CMMI 1435222, for support of this work. The authors also thank Mr. Ketul Patel, Mr. Lu Wang, and Mr. Clark Teeple for their contributions to robot development.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (MOV 8335 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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