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Experimental dynamics of wing assisted running for a bipedal ornithopter

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2 Author(s)
Kevin Peterson ; Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, 94720, USA ; Ronald S. Fearing

BOLT is a lightweight bipedal ornithopter capable of high-speed dynamic running and effecting transitions between aerial and terrestrial locomotion modes. The gait dynamics of both quasi-static and dynamic locomotion are examined through the use of an on-board accelerometer, part of a one gram electronics package also containing a processor and radio. We discuss the accelerations in the context of the traditional spring-loaded inverted pendulum model seen in nearly all legged locomotion in organisms. Flapping wings are shown to provide damping along with propulsive force. The aerodynamic forces of the flapping wings also impart passive stability to the robot, enabling it to run bipedally with only a single actuator. BOLT transitions from ground running to aerial hovering in as little as one meter of runway. Overall, the advantages provided by wings in terrestrial locomotion, coupled with aerial capabilities, allow BOLT to navigate complex three dimensional environments, switching between locomotion modes when necessary.

Published in:

2011 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems

Date of Conference:

25-30 Sept. 2011