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A general locomotion control framework for multi-legged locomotors

Chong, Baxi; Aydin, Yasemin O; Rieser, Jennifer M; Sartoretti, Guillaume; Wang, Tianyu; Whitman, Julian; Kaba, Abdul; Aydin, Enes; Mcfarland, Ciera; Diaz Cruz, Kelimar; Rankin, Jeffery W; Michel, Krijn B; Nicieza, Alfredo; Hutchinson, John R; Choset, Howie; Goldman, Daniel I


Baxi Chong

Yasemin O Aydin

Jennifer M Rieser

Guillaume Sartoretti

Tianyu Wang

Julian Whitman

Abdul Kaba

Enes Aydin

Ciera Mcfarland

Kelimar Diaz Cruz

Jeffery W Rankin

Krijn B Michel

Alfredo Nicieza

John R Hutchinson

Howie Choset

Daniel I Goldman


John Hutchinson


Serially connected robots are promising candidates for performing tasks in confined spaces such as search and rescue in large-scale disasters. Such robots are typically limbless, and we hypothesize that the addition of limbs could improve mobility. However, a challenge in designing and controlling such devices lies in the coordination of high-dimensional redundant modules in a way that improves mobility. Here we develop a general framework to discover templates to control serially connected multi-legged robots. Specifically, we combine two approaches to build a general shape control scheme which can provide baseline patterns of self-deformation ("gaits") for effective locomotion in diverse robot morphologies. First, we take inspiration from a dimensionality reduction and a biological gait classification scheme to generate cyclic patterns of body deformation and foot lifting/lowering, which facilitate generation of arbitrary substrate contact patterns. Second, we extend geometric mechanics, which was originally introduced to study swimming in low Reynolds number, to frictional environments, allowing identification of optimal body-leg coordination in this common terradynamic regime. Our scheme allows the development of effective gaits on flat terrain with diverse number of limbs (4, 6, 16, and even 0 limbs) and backbone actuation. By properly coordinating the body undulation and leg placement, our framework combines the advantages of both limbless robots (modularity and narrow profile) and legged robots (mobility). Our framework can provide general control schemes for the rapid deployment of general multi-legged robots, paving the way toward machines that can traverse complex environments. In addition, we show that our framework can also offer insights into body-leg coordination in living systems, such as salamanders and centipedes, from a biomechanical perspective.


Chong, B., Aydin, Y. O., Rieser, J. M., Sartoretti, G., Wang, T., Whitman, J., …Goldman, D. I. (2022). A general locomotion control framework for multi-legged locomotors. Bioinspiration and Biomimetics,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 18, 2022
Publication Date Jun 16, 2022
Deposit Date Feb 2, 2022
Publicly Available Date Aug 12, 2022
Print ISSN 1748-3182
Publisher IOP Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed


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