1.1.1 Why and how do animals move?

Course video 3 of 32

We start with a general consideration of animals, the exemplar of mobility in nature. This leads us to adopt the stance of bioinspiration rather than biomimicry, i.e., extracting principles rather than appearances and applying them systematically to our machines. A little more thinking about typical animal mobility leads us to focus on appendages – limbs and tails – as sources of motion. The second portion of the week offers a bit of background on the physical and mathematical foundations of limbed robotic mobility. We start with a linear spring-mass-damper system and consider the second order ordinary differential equation that describes it as a first order dynamical system. We then treat the simple pendulum – the simplest revolute kinematic limb – in the same manner just to give a taste for the nature of nonlinear dynamics that inevitably arise in robotics. We’ll finish with a treatment of stability and energy basins. Link to bibliography: https://www.coursera.org/learn/robotics-mobility/resources/pqYOc

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