This book, by a leading authority on legged locomotion, presents exciting engineering and science, along with fascinating implications for theories of human motor control. It lays fundamental groundwork in legged locomotion, one of the least developed areas of robotics, addressing the possibility of building useful legged robots that run and balance. The book describes the study of physical machines that run and balance on just one leg, including analysis, computer simulation, and laboratory experiments. Contrary to expectations, it reveals that control of such machines is not particularly difficult. It describes how the principles of locomotion discovered with one leg can be extended to systems with several legs and reports preliminary experiments with a quadruped machine that runs using these principles. Raibert's work is unique in its emphasis on dynamics and active balance, aspects of the problem that have played a minor role in most previous work. His studies focus on the central issues of balance and dynamic control, while avoiding several problems that have dominated previous research on legged machines.
Legged Robots That Balance is fifteenth in the Artificial Intelligence Series, edited by Patrick Winston and Michael Brady.