The manner in which quadrupeds change their locomotive patterns—walking, trotting, and galloping—with changing speed is poorly understood. In this paper, we provide evidence for interlimb coordination during gait transitions using a quadruped robot for which coordination between the legs can be self-organized through a simple “central pattern generator” (CPG) model. We demonstrate spontaneous gait transitions between energy-efficient patterns by changing only the parameter related to speed. Interlimb coordination was achieved with the use of local load sensing only without any preprogrammed patterns. Our model exploits physical communication through the body, suggesting that knowledge of physical communication is required to understand the leg coordination mechanism in legged animals and to establish design principles for legged robots that can reproduce flexible and efficient locomotion.
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