Simple robot suggests physical interlimb communication is essential for quadruped walking

J R Soc Interface. 2013 Jan 6;10(78):20120669. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2012.0669. Epub 2012 Nov 8.


Quadrupeds have versatile gait patterns, depending on the locomotion speed, environmental conditions and animal species. These locomotor patterns are generated via the coordination between limbs and are partly controlled by an intraspinal neural network called the central pattern generator (CPG). Although this forms the basis for current control paradigms of interlimb coordination, the mechanism responsible for interlimb coordination remains elusive. By using a minimalistic approach, we have developed a simple-structured quadruped robot, with the help of which we propose an unconventional CPG model that consists of four decoupled oscillators with only local force feedback in each leg. Our robot exhibits good adaptability to changes in weight distribution and walking speed simply by responding to local feedback, and it can mimic the walking patterns of actual quadrupeds. Our proposed CPG-based control method suggests that physical interaction between legs during movements is essential for interlimb coordination in quadruped walking.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gait*
  • Hindlimb*
  • Robotics / methods*
  • Walking*