Design and Control of Small Legged Robots

Organizers: Konstantinos Karydis, Liyu Wang and Ronald Fearing


Small (under 20 cm in length) legged robots have higher agility and maneuverability, thus being more capable and safer to operate in cluttered environments when compared to their larger counterparts. They can be comparably fast and inexpensive to manufacture thus allowing deployment in large numbers. As such, they fit well in applications like persistent monitoring in confined spaces. Recent developments on design and control of small legged robots have introduced i) a range of highly capable robots, ii) low-cost and distributable design and fabrication, and iii) control algorithms for robot navigation despite challenges such as reduced control authority and uncertainty. But there are still lingering challenges that must be tackled to fully bring these robots in real-world settings. For example, there is currently lack of clear and unifying methods to produce agile and reliable small legged robots, and of control strategies for reliable controlled operation over unknown and varying terrain. The workshop will bring together researchers from planning and control, mechanisms and design, and biology to examine the challenges and opportunities surrounding the design and control of small legged robots. We seek to investigate i) how new materials and processes can lead to unified approaches in design and manufacturing of small legged robots in a reliable and cost-efficient manner, and ii) what control approaches can ensure reliable controlled operation of small legged robots in realistic case studies. The goal is to report on state-of-the-art approaches, identify open problems, and devise new principles to meet current challenges for small legged robots.