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Mar.2, 2011

Vol. 111, No. 8

Web Exclusives

Videos: Cockroach inspiration

See how the roach's motion spurred ideas for a robot's movements

Posted on March 2, 2011


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

 

Watch a video of a one-legged robot attached to a boom that Jonathan Clark, an engineering professor at Florida State University, and his team built following Schmitt’s control design. In this video, the robot is hopping up and down over a change in ground height that is 18 percent of the leg length.

Video courtesy of Professor Jonathan Clark, STRIDe Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Florida State University

 

Watch a video of the experimental setup of the one-legged robot moving over some other obstacles in the track. Jonathan Clark, an engineering professor at Florida State University, and his team built the robot following Schmitt’s control design.

Video courtesy of Professor Jonathan Clark, STRIDe Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Florida State University

 

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3 Responses to Videos: Cockroach inspiration

Stephanie Turner *04 Says:

2011-03-01 14:41:08

Sorry, but this doesn't look like a "one-legged" robot. It looks like a robot held up by a central arm. It could have NO legs and bounce around as well. Am I wrong?

Ben Yu *98 Says:

2011-03-01 16:02:06

Agree with Stephanie. Would be helpful to see the robot in action with one leg and no arm.

Heather Duchow *03 Says:

2011-03-01 18:09:14

Stephanie and Ben, The leg is *not* held up by the central arm. It is a boom and leg, which is a standard experimental set-up for testing leg design and control strategies. The purpose of the boom is merely to prevent catastrophic crashing that would damage the electronics of the robot. I think part of why you perceive this being held up by the boom is that you don't see any video of what a bad run looks like - i.e. no video of a failure.
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CURRENT ISSUE: Mar.2, 2011