Effect of Flexible Spine Motion on Energy Efficiency in Quadruped Running

Abstract

Energy efficiency is important in the performance of quadruped robots and mammals. Flexible spine motion generally exists in quadruped mammals. This paper mainly explores the effect of flexible spinal motion on energy efficiency. Firstly, a planar simplified model of the quadruped robot with flexible spine motion is introduced and two simulation experiments are carried out. The results of simulation experiments demonstrate that both spine motion and spinal flexibility can indeed increase energy efficiency, and the curve of energy efficiency change along with spinal stiffness is acquired. So, in order to obtain higher energy efficiency, quadruped robots should have flexible spine motion. In a certain speed, there is an optimal spinal stiffness which can make energy efficiency to be the best. Secondly, a planar quadruped robot with flexible spine motion is designed and the conclusions drawn in the two simulation experiments are verified. Lastly, the third simulation experiment is carried out to explore the relationship between the optimal spinal stiffness, speed and total mass. The optimal spinal stiffness increases with both speed and total mass, which has important guiding significance for adjusting the spinal stiffness of quadruped robots to make them reach the best energy efficiency.

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Correspondence to Dongliang Chen.

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Chen, D., Li, N., Wang, H. et al. Effect of Flexible Spine Motion on Energy Efficiency in Quadruped Running. J Bionic Eng 14, 716–725 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1016/S1672-6529(16)60436-5

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Keywords

  • bionic quadruped robot
  • flexible spine motion
  • spinal stiffness
  • energy efficiency
  • locomotion experiment