Looking for publications? You might want to consider searching on the EPFL Infoscience site which provides advanced publication search capabilities.

Adaptive Morphology: A Design Principle for Multimodal and Multifunctional Robots

  • Authors: Mintchev, Stefano; Floreano, Dario

Morphology plays an important role in behavioral and locomotion strategies of living and artificial systems. There is biological evidence that adaptive morphological changes can not only extend dynamic performances by reducing tradeoffs during locomotion but also provide new functionalities. In this article, we show that adaptive morphology is an emerging design principle in robotics that benefits from a new generation of soft, variable-stiffness, and functional materials and structures. When moving within a given environment or when transitioning between different substrates, adaptive morphology allows accommodation of opposing dynamic requirements (e.g., maneuverability, stability, efficiency, and speed). Adaptive morphology is also a viable solution to endow robots with additional functionalities, such as transportability, protection, and variable gearing. We identify important research and technological questions, such as variable-stiffness structures, in silico design tools, and adaptive control systems to fully leverage adaptive morphology in robotic systems.

Posted on: September 27, 2016

Concurrent Optimization of Mechanical Design and Locomotion Control of a Legged Robot

  • Authors: Digumarti, K. M.; Gehring, C.; Coros, S.; Hwangbo, J.; Siegwart, R.

This paper introduces a method to simultaneously optimize design and control parameters for legged robots to improve the performance of locomotion based tasks. The morphology of a quadrupedal robot was optimized for a trotting and bounding gait to achieve a certain speed while tuning the control parameters of a robust locomotion controller at the same time. The results of the optimization show that a change of the structure of the robot can help increase its admissable top speed while using the same actuation units.

Posted on: July 16, 2014