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This paper presents a biologically inspired approach to simulation design for a walking hexapod robot with focus on the parameter selection of critical values (e.g. joint stiffness) for robot performance. The fundamental aim is to mimic key aspects within a dynamic simulation environment to develop a clearer picture of the tradeoffs that biological systems naturally regulate. Although the importance of compliance in locomotion and disturbance rejection is well established in robotics, the actual design selection of system parameters involving tradeoffs between active movement, passive disturbance rejection, and energy minimization remain a challenging design task for mobile robots. We present initial work aimed at resolving this issue for the design optimization of a 20:1 scale Blaberus discoidalis cockroach robot through a simulation environment where complex interactions between passive stabilization and active walking may be examined in detail with respect to energy consumption and robotic performance.
Date of Conference: 14-17 July 2009