Watch a video of a cockroach running over rough terrain in real time and then a slowed-down version. John Schmitt *01 and his colleague, Robert Full, used this video to study the roach’s movement, which served as inspiration for their models.
“Full and his graduate students determined that the electromyograph (EMG) readings recorded for muscles in the cockroach legs did not substantially change between runs over flat terrain and runs over the terrain illustrated. This, combined with the fact that legs that miss a step entirely perform exactly as they would have had they hit the step, suggests that muscle activation is prescribed in advance and only modified over longer timescales by reflex action," Schmitt said.
“As such, in our model we prescribed leg actuation in advance and changed leg touch-down angles using feedback control on a stance to stance basis. This combination of prescribed muscle activation and reflex action appears to be consistent with what has been exhibited experimentally.”
Courtesy of Professor Robert Full, Poly-pedal Laboratory, Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley