Alexander Spröwitz, Dr. Sc.

Dynamic Locomotion Group

Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems

Heisenbergstr. 3, 3N22
70569 Stuttgart, Germany

Phone: +49 (0)711 689 3499


Bioinspired Legged Robots

We recently showed for the first time that legged robot platforms can reach self-stable 3d running, at dynamic locomotion speeds (Froude number > 1.3), with open-loop control patterns in form of central pattern generators, and bioinspired spring-loaded pantograph leg design. Please see the Biorob pages for Cheetah-cub, Bobcat robot, and Oncilla robot for our previous work in cooperation with Auke Jan Ijspeert.

These legged robot platforms have unique features that are important for the development of future successful legged robots and robotic tools to research legged locomotion in Biology: a) they are intrinsically able to compensate for perturbations, such as small step-down events by redirecting potential energy efficiently into forward motion, b) the implemented central pattern generator (CPG) requires very few control parameters, and these parameters are physiological meaningful (i.e. amplitude of leg angle motion, frequency), c) the applied pantographic leg design is biomechanically relevant, and allows for research insights into the otherwise very complex leg structure made of many bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments.

We are continuing this research line with both biped and quadruped legged platforms. Our goal for the robotic implementation is dynamic and agile locomotion in unstructured terrain and on complex surfaces, i.e. on non-laboratory ground. We aim to apply machine learning, sensor fusion, and robot models of different complexity (task dependent) on hardware platforms capable of dynamic locomotion.


Alexander Spröwitz, Alexandre Tuleu, Massimo Vespignani, Mostafa Ajallooeian, Emilie Badri, and Auke Jan Ijspeert, "Towards Dynamic Trot Gait Locomotion: Design, Control, and Experiments with Cheetah-cub, a Compliant Quadruped Robot," The International Journal of Robotics Research 32 (8), 932-950 (2013).

Alexander Spröwitz, Mostafa Ajallooeian, Alexandre Tuleu, and Auke Jan Ijspeert, "Kinematic primitives for walking and trotting gaits of a quadruped robot with compliant legs," Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience 8 (2014).

Mahdi Khoramshahi , Alexander Spröwitz, Alexandre Tuleu, M. N. Ahmadabadi, and Auke Jan Ijspeert, "Benefits of an active spine supported bounding locomotion with a small compliant quadruped robot", in Proceedings of the 2013 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), (IEEE, New York, NY, 2013), pp. 3329-3334.

Simon Rutishauser, Alexander Spröwitz, Ludovic Righetti, and Auke Jan Ijspeert, "Passive compliant quadruped robot using central pattern generators for locomotion control", in Proceedings of the 2008 2nd Biennial IEEE/RAS-EMBS International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics, (IEEE, New York, NY, 2008), pp. 710-715.


Prof. Auke Jan Ijspeert, Biorob, EPFL
Prof. Monica Daley, RVC, University of London
Dr. Ludovic Righetti, head of the Movement Generation and Control Group, MPI Tuebingen

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