Biomechanical approach to open-loop bipedal running with a musculoskeletal athlete robot

Ryuma Niiyama, Satoshi Nishikawa, Yasuo Kuniyoshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, a musculoskeletal robot is used as a tool to investigate how animals control their complex body. Sprinting is a challenging task that requires maximizing the potential resources of a musculoskeletal structure. Our approach to robotic sprinting is the Athlete Robot - a musculoskeletal robot with elastic blade feet controlled by feedforward motor command. We use a catapult launcher to provide a stable start to a sprint, and then examine the relation between the initial velocity imparted by the launcher and the change in orientation of the robot. We also investigate the influence of the change in elasticity of the blade foot. The results show that acceleration causes anterior inclination after the first step. The elasticity of the foot dominates the duration of the support phase. The musculoskeletal system of the Athlete Robot is modified to suit catapulted running. Based on the results from real robot experiments, we can provide a consistent propelling force using the catapult launcher. We demonstrate the Athlete Robot running for five steps after a catapult launch, using only feedforward command.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-398
Number of pages16
JournalAdvanced Robotics
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Science Applications


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