Publication Details

Fang, T., Zhou, Y., Li, S., Xu, M., Liang, H., Li, W. & Zhang, S. (2016). Theoretical and experimental study on a compliant flipper-leg during terrestrial locomotion. Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, 11 (5), 056005-1-056005-12.


An amphibious robot with straight compliant flipper-legs can conquer various amphibious environments. The robot can rotate its flipper-legs and utilize their large deflection to walk on rough terrain, and it can oscillate the straight flipper-legs to propel itself underwater. This paper focuses on the dynamics of the compliant straight flipper-legs during terrestrial locomotion by modeling its deformation dynamically with large deflection theory and simulating it to investigate the parameters of locomotion such as trajectory, velocity, and propulsion. To validate the theoretical model of dynamic locomotion, a single-leg experimental platform is used to explore the flipper-legs in motion with various structural and kinematic parameters. Furthermore, a robotic platform mounting with four compliant flipper-legs is also developed and used to experiment with locomotion. The trajectories of the rotating axle of the compliant flipper-leg during locomotion were approximately coincidental in simulation and in experiments. The speed of locomotion and cost of transport during locomotion were explored and analyzed. The performance of different types of compliant flipper-legs during locomotion shows that varying the degrees of stiffness will have a significant effect on their locomotion. The dynamic model and analysis of the compliant flipper-leg for terrestrial locomotion facilitates the ability of amphibious robots to conquer complex environments.

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