Journal article

Efficient and Versatile Locomotion With Highly Compliant Legs

Drawing inspiration from nature, this paper introduces and compares two compliant robotic legs that are able to perform precise joint torque and position control, enable passive adaption to the environment, and allowfor the exploitation of natural dynamic motions.We report in detail on the design and control of both prototypes and elaborate specifically on the problem of precise foot placement during flight without the sacrifice of efficient energy storage during stance. This is achieved through an integrated design and control approach that incorporates series elastic actuation, series damping actuation, and active damping through torque control. The two legs are employed in efficient hopping/ running motions for which they achieve performance similar to humans or animals. This paper is concluded by a comparison of the various design choices with respect to performance and applicability, as well as an outlook on the usage of these legs in a fully actuated quadruped.

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