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    Multilegged locomotion improves the mobility of terrestrial animals and artifacts. Using many legs has advantages, such as the ability to avoid falling and to tolerate leg malfunction. However, many intrinsic degrees of freedom make the motion planning and control difficult, and many contact legs can impede the maneuverability during locomotion. The underlying mechanism for generating agile locomotion using many legs remains unclear from biological and engineering viewpoints. The present study used a centipede-like multilegged robot composed of six body segments and twelve legs. The body segments are passively connected through yaw joints with torsional springs. The dynamic stability of the robot walking in a straight line changes through a supercritical Hopf bifurcation due to the body axis flexibility. We focused on a quick turning task of the robot and quantitatively investigated the relationship between stability and maneuverability in multilegged locomotion by using a simple control strategy. Our experimental results show that the straight walk instability does help the turning maneuver. We discuss the importance and relevance of our findings for biological systems and propose a design principle for a simple control scheme to create maneuverable locomotion of multilegged robots.


    Shinya Aoi, Takahiro Tanaka, Soichiro Fujiki, Tetsuro Funato, Kei Senda, Kazuo Tsuchiya. Advantage of straight walk instability in turning maneuver of multilegged locomotion: a robotics approach. Scientific reports. 2016;6:30199

    PMID: 27444746

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