Lab Papers (GRASP)

Document Type

Conference Paper

Date of this Version



Suggested Citation:
Mellinger, D., V. Kumar and M. Yim. (2009). Control of Locomotion with Shape-Changing Wheels. 2009 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. Kobe, Japan. May 12-17, 2009.

©2009 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE.


We present a novel approach to controlling the locomotion of a wheel by changing its shape, leading to applications to the synthesis and closed-loop control of gaits for modular robots. A dynamic model of a planar, continuous deformable ellipse in contact with a ground surface is derived. We present two alternative approaches to controlling this system and a method for mapping the gaits to a discrete rolling polygon. Mathematical models and dynamic simulation of the continuous approximation and the discrete n-body system, and experimental results obtained from a physical modular robot system illustrate the accuracy of the dynamic models and the validity of the approach.

Included in

Engineering Commons



Date Posted: 12 October 2010

This document has been peer reviewed.