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Volume 20 Issue 07 - Publication Date: 1 July 2001
 
A Three-Dimensional Passive-Dynamic Walking Robot with Two Legs and Knees
 
S.H. Collins Cornell University, M. Wisse Delft University of Technology and A. Ruina ACornell University
 
The authors have built the first three-dimensional, kneed, two-legged, passive-dynamic walking machine. Since the work of Tad McGeer in the late 1980s, the concept of passive-dynamics has added insight into animal locomotion and the design of anthropomorphic robots. Various analyses and machines that demonstrate efficient human-like walking have been developed using this strategy. Human-like passive machines, however, have only operated in two dimensions (i.e., within the fore-aft or sagittal plane). Three-dimensional passive walking devices, mostly toys, have not had human-like motions but instead a stiff legged waddle. In the present three-dimensional device, the authors preserve features of McGeer's two-dimensional models, including mechanical simplicity, human-like knee flexure, and passive gravitational power from descending a shallow slope. They then add specially curved feet, a compliant heel, and mechanically constrained arms to achieve a harmonious and stable gait. The device stands 85 cm tall. It weighs 4.8 kg, walks at about 0.51 m/s down a 3.1-degree slope, and consumes 1.3 W. This robot further implicates passive-dynamics in human walking and may help point the way toward simple and efficient robots with human-like motions.
 
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