Goldman, Daniel I.

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    A terradynamics of legged locomotion on granular media
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2013-03-22) Li, Chen ; Zhang, Tingnan ; Goldman, Daniel I.
    The theories of aero- and hydrodynamics predict animal movement and device design in air and water through the computation of lift, drag, and thrust forces. Although models of terrestrial legged locomotion have focused on interactions with solid ground, many animals move on substrates that flow in response to intrusion. However, locomotor-ground interaction models on such flowable ground are often unavailable. We developed a force model for arbitrarily-shaped legs and bodies moving freely in granular media, and used this “terradynamics" to predict a small legged robot's locomotion on granular media using various leg shapes and stride frequencies. Our study reveals a complex but generic dependence of stresses in granular media on intruder depth, orientation, and movement direction and gives insight into the effects of leg morphology and kinematics on movement
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    The Effect of limb kinematics on the speed of a legged robot on granular media
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2010-04-22) Li, Chen ; Umbanhowar, Paul B. ; Komsuoglu, | Haldun ; Goldman, Daniel I.
    Achieving effective locomotion on diverse terrestrial substrates can require subtle changes of limb kinematics. Biologically inspired legged robots (physical models of organisms) have shown impressive mobility on hard ground but suffer performance loss on unconsolidated granular materials like sand. Because comprehensive limb- ground interaction models are lacking, optimal gaits on complex yielding terrain have been determined empirically. To develop predictive models for legged devices and to provide hypotheses for biological locomotors, we systematically study the performance of SandBot, a small legged robot, on granular media as a function of gait parameters. High performance occurs only in a small region of parameter space. A previously introduced kinematic model of the robot combined with a new anisotropic granular penetration force law predicts the speed. Performance on granular media is maximized when gait parameters minimize body acceleration and limb interference, and utilize solidification features of granular media.