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Energy Efficiency of Legged Robot Locomotion With Elastically-Suspended Loads Over a Range of Suspension Stiffnesses

[+] Author Affiliations
Jeffrey Ackerman, Xingye Da, Justin Seipel

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Paper No. DETC2012-71401, pp. 1153-1159; 7 pages
  • ASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4: 36th Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Parts A and B
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, August 12–15, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4503-5
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


Elastically suspending a load from humans and animals can increase the energy efficiency of legged locomotion and load carrying. Similarly, elastically-suspended loads have the potential to increase the energy efficiency of legged robot locomotion. External loads and the inherent mass of a legged robot, such as batteries, electronics, and fuel, can be elastically-suspended from the robot chassis with a passive compliant suspension system, reducing the energetic cost of locomotion. In prior work, we developed a simple model to examine the effect of elastically-suspended loads on the energy cost of locomotion from first principles. In this paper, we present experimental results showing the energy cost of locomotion for a simple hexapod robot over a range of suspension stiffness values. Elastically-suspended loads were shown to reduce the energy cost of locomotion by up to 20% versus a rigidly-attached load. We compare the experimental results to the theoretical results predicted by the simple model.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME



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