Bipedal
locomotion: people and robots

Andy Ruina

Cornell,
Dept. of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (TAM)

Generally speaking animals do not
waste too much of any scarce

resource, of which energy is one. Similarly, if robots are

ever to be practical, reasonable energy efficiency would be useful.

In loose terms, we have been trying to understand legged locomotion

from an energetic point of view. One approach is to make energy-

efficient legged machines, the most striking of which are those with

no motors that only walk down gentle slopes. Another approach is to

study energy-use of humans. Finally one can make mathematical

analyses of simple mechanical models. One idea that comes out

of such is this: perhaps the non-holonomic nature of the intermittent

contact in walking contributes to the stability of walking.

The talk will include several videos and few equations.

Bio

Andy Ruina got all his degrees from Brown University Engineering.

His early work was on the mechanics of friction and friction

instabilities especially in the context of earthquakes. He

has been at Theoretical and Applied Mechanics

at Cornell for 26 years. Besides friction and walking he has

worked on fracture, collisions and bicycling.

resource, of which energy is one. Similarly, if robots are

ever to be practical, reasonable energy efficiency would be useful.

In loose terms, we have been trying to understand legged locomotion

from an energetic point of view. One approach is to make energy-

efficient legged machines, the most striking of which are those with

no motors that only walk down gentle slopes. Another approach is to

study energy-use of humans. Finally one can make mathematical

analyses of simple mechanical models. One idea that comes out

of such is this: perhaps the non-holonomic nature of the intermittent

contact in walking contributes to the stability of walking.

The talk will include several videos and few equations.

Bio

Andy Ruina got all his degrees from Brown University Engineering.

His early work was on the mechanics of friction and friction

instabilities especially in the context of earthquakes. He

has been at Theoretical and Applied Mechanics

at Cornell for 26 years. Besides friction and walking he has

worked on fracture, collisions and bicycling.