Towards a bio-inspired leg design for high-speed running

TitleTowards a bio-inspired leg design for high-speed running
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsAnanthanarayanan, A., M. Azadi, and S. Kim
JournalBioinspiration & Biomimetics
Date Published08/2012

High-speed terrestrial locomotion inevitably involves high acceleration and extensive loadings on the legs. This imposes a challenging trade-off between weight and strength in leg design. This paper introduces a new design paradigm for a robotic leg inspired by musculoskeletal structures. The central hypothesis is that employing a tendon–bone co-location architecture not only provides compliance in the leg, but can also reduce bone stresses caused by bending on structures. This hypothesis is applied to a leg design, and verified by simulations and the experiments on a prototype. In addition, we also present an optimization scheme to maximize the strength to weight ratio. Using the tendon–bone co-location architecture, the stress on the bone during a stride is reduced by up to 59%. A new foam-core prototyping technique enables creating structural characteristics similar to mammalian bones in the robotic leg. This method allows us to use lighter polymeric structures that are cheaper and quicker to fabricate than conventional fabrication methods, and can eventually greatly shorten the design iteration cycle time.



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