Insects exhibit adaptive and versatile locomotion despite their minimal neural computing. Such locomotor patterns are generated via coordination between leg movements, i.e., an interlimb coordination, which is largely controlled in a distributed manner by neural circuits located in thoracic ganglia. However, the mechanism responsible for the interlimb coordination still remains elusive. Understanding this mechanism will help us to elucidate the fundamental control principle of animals' agile locomotion and to realize robots with legs that are truly adaptive and could not be developed solely by conventional control theories. This study aims at providing a "minimal" model of the interlimb coordination mechanism underlying hexapedal locomotion, in the hope that a single control principle could satisfactorily reproduce various aspects of insect locomotion. To this end, we introduce a novel concept we named "Tegotae," a Japanese concept describing the extent to which a perceived reaction matches an expectation. By using the Tegotae-based approach, we show that a surprisingly systematic design of local sensory feedback mechanisms essential for the interlimb coordination can be realized. We also use a hexapod robot we developed to show that our mathematical model of the interlimb coordination mechanism satisfactorily reproduces various insects' gait patterns.
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