/Legless Locomotion: A Novel Locomotion Technique for Legged Robots

Legless Locomotion: A Novel Locomotion Technique for Legged Robots

Ravi Balasubramanian, Alfred Rizzi and Matthew T. Mason
Journal Article, Carnegie Mellon University, International Journal of Robotics Research, Vol. 27, No. 5, pp. 575 - 594, May, 2008

Download Publication (PDF)

Copyright notice: This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author’s copyright. These works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.


We present a novel locomotion strategy called legless locomotion that allows a round-bodied legged robot to locomote approximately when it is high-centered. Typically, a high-centered robot is stuck since the robot’s legs do not touch the ground. Legless locomotion uses the legs as a reaction mass to set up oscillatory body rotations which when coupled with ground contact gradually translate the robot. Legless locomotion’s continuous dynamics differs from previously studied locomotion methods because of the simultaneous interaction of gravity-induced oscillations, a configuration-dependent system inertia, and non-holonomic contact constraints. This paper employs simple models to capture the complex dynamics and uses the intuition developed from the models to develop gaits that provide planar accessibility. We also present a quantification of leg less locomotion’s properties using simulations and motion-capture experiments.

BibTeX Reference
author = {Ravi Balasubramanian and Alfred Rizzi and Matthew T. Mason},
title = {Legless Locomotion: A Novel Locomotion Technique for Legged Robots},
journal = {International Journal of Robotics Research},
year = {2008},
month = {May},
volume = {27},
number = {5},
pages = {575 - 594},