Departmental Papers (MEAM)

Document Type

Conference Paper

Subject Area


Date of this Version



Postprint version. To be published in International Journal on Robotics Research, 2006, 10 pages.


Reconfigurable modular robots use different gaits and configurations to perform various tasks. A rolling gait is the fastest currently implemented gait available to a modular robot for traversal of level ground. In this work, we analyze and implement a sensor-based feedback controller to achieve dynamic rolling for a 10 module loop robot. The controller exploits the dynamics of the system to build up momentum in each step by specifying a desired global shape for the robot at touchdown. Energy is input into the system both by raising the height of the center of mass of the robot and moving the position of center of mass with respect to the ground to maximize the moment arm due to gravity. Using simulation and experimental results, we show how the desired shape can be varied to achieve higher terminal velocities. Through simulation, we also show rounder shapes have lower specific resistance and are thus more efficient.


dynamic, rolling, modular, robot



Date Posted: 08 November 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.