Author Topic: Evolution of Quadruped Robots  (Read 897 times)

Evolution of Quadruped Robots
« on: February 11, 2015, 07:50:00 PM »
Many of the quadruped robots I've seen move rather well, but they do so from a rigid body and are not particularly efficient in terms of movement. The spine plays a very significant role in quadruped animals - particularly those with their limbs placed under the body. Nature has made use of this, even though the respiratory system is inadvertently effected. The extra flexibility in the spine allows the legs to stretch away from the body further in order to increase the size of the stride so that more ground is covered. This also allows the body to flex with the legs when on uneven terrain, and to a certain degree, acts a shock-absorber.

This particular robot does show some bending in the "back" which does seem to help. The movement of the robot isn't efficient yet or entirely stable, but it does seem someone has noted the biomechanical advantages of a flexible spine.

However, despite the advantages of a flexible spine being absent from some quadruped designs I have also noticed the lack of feet and ankles. Understandably, these robots are already complex and trying to coordinate the movements of so many moving parts can be difficult, but the absence of these parts really steals from the efficiency of the robots movements.

Now I did find an experiment showing the use of ankles and feet on a robot, here:

These are for human-like bipedal movement. I would love to see elongated rear ankles with flexible digitigrade "toes" on a quadruped robot that has a flexible spine, as well as a flexible "wrist" and digitigrade toes on the front legs. I believe these features combined would greatly increase the expanse of the legs during full gallop, improve the speed in which the legs are moved to the next position, and generate more power during the stride while using less energy to do so. The use of ankles, wrists, and flexible toes would also make the robot more stable on uneven terrain and improve recovery time when the robot is off balance (or kicked). As these robots become more complex, these extra features would make climbing, digging, swimming, and manipulation of objects easier/possible.

I am fascinated by the progress robotics has made so far. Maybe one day, they'll finally have that highly polished chrome finish that Hollywood has been promising us for a few decades now. 

Quote from: Jakeness
if you believe in the supernatural, you do not understand modern science. Period.

Offline stromboli

Re: Evolution of Quadruped Robots
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2015, 08:01:25 PM »
Next thing will be the Terminator chasing a Cheetah. Scary.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2015, 08:03:12 PM by stromboli »