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The Effects of Curved Foot Design Parameters on Planar Biped Walking

[+] Author Affiliations
Anne E. Martin, James P. Schmiedeler

University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN

Paper No. DETC2012-70557, pp. 815-824; 10 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


Although the nature of their gaits is similar, planar bipeds with curved feet have been shown experimentally to be more energetically efficient than those with point feet. Further, both healthy human feet and prosthetic feet can be modeled as a circular arc with the center of curvature in front of the shank. Thus, understanding the effects of a curved foot’s properties on the energetic cost of gait and on gait kinematics has the potential to improve both bipedal robots and prosthesis design. To date, there has not been a systematic study of the effects of changing the foot radius and center of curvature location on symmetric bipeds. This paper explores the effects of changing the curved foot’s geometric properties for both two- and five-link planar, underactuated bipeds with instantaneous transfer of support at impact. It is found that the foot radius has a substantial effect on the energetic efficiency of a gait regardless of the morphology of the biped. The effect of foot center of curvature location on energy efficiency is dependent on the morphology of the biped and is much less significant than the effect of foot radius. Both the foot radius and center of curvature location affect the knee kinematics of the five-link biped. The foot radius affects the hip kinematics of the two-link biped.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME
Topics: Design



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