Milestones in the Development of Legged Robots


1836 Weber and Weber:
Measurements in corpses show that natural frequency of leg when swinging as compound pendulum is similar to cadence in live walking.
1850 Chebyshev:
Designs straight-line linkage used in early walking mechanism (Lucas 1894).
1872 Muybridge:
Develops stop-motion photography to document running animals.
1893 Rygg:
Patents human-powered mechanical horse.
1945 Wallace:
Patents hopping tank with reaction wheels that provide stability.
1961 Space General:
Eight-legged linkage machine walks in outdoor terrain (Morrison 1968).
1963 Cannon, Higdon:
Control system balances single, double, and limber inverted pendulums.
1968 Frank and McGhee:
Shift-register logic controls walking of Phony Pony.
1968 Mosher:
GE quadruped truck climbs railroad ties under control of human driver.
1969 Bucyrus-Erie Co.:
Big Muskie, a 15,000 ton walking dragline is used for strip mining. It moves in soft terrain at a speed of 900 ft/hr (Sitek 1976).
1977 McGhee:
Digital computer coordinates leg motions of hexapod robot walks with wave gait using digital computer to coordinate leg motion.
1977 Gurfinkel:
Hybrid computer controls hexapod walker in USSR.
1977 McMahon and Greene:
Human runners set new speed records on tuned track at Harvard. Its compliance is adjusted to mechanics of human leg.
1980 Hirose and Umetani:
Quadruped machine climbs stairs and climbs over obstacles using simple sensors and reflex-like control. The leg mechanism simplifies control.
1980 Kato:
Hydraulic biped walks with quasidynamic gait.
1980 Matsuoka:
Mechanism balances in the plane while hopping on one leg.
1981 Miura and Shimoyama:
Biped balances actively while walking in three dimensional space.
1983 Sutherland:
Self-contained hexapod carries human rider. Computer, hydraulics, and human share computing task.
1983 Odetics:
Self-contained hexapod lifts and moves back end of pickup truck (Russell 1983).
1983 Raibert:
One-legged machine hops in place, travels at a specified rate, keeps its balance when disturbed, and jumps over small obstacles.
1984 Furusho:
Planar five-link biped starts walking from a standing position, and travels at 0.8 m/s.
1987 Waldron and McGhee:
Three-ton self-contained hexapod carrying human driver travels at 5 mph, travels in irregular terrain, and pulls a load.
1988 Hodgins and Koechling:
Planar biped climbs short stairway, jumps over obstacles, and sets speed record of 13.1 mph.
1989 Raibert:
Quadruped runs with trotting, pacing, and bounding gaits, and changes between gaits.
1990 McGeer:
Planar biped with knees walks passively down sloping surface.
1991 Raibert:
3D Biped travels around laboratory.
1992 Playter:
3D Biped does 3D somersault.
1994 LegLab & 20th Century Fox:
3D Biped and Uniroo appear in Rising Sun with Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes.
1996 Leeser:
Planar Quadruped runns with articulated spine.
1997 Honda:
Honda Motor Company announces its bipedal walking project which has resulted in an autonomous humanoid.

If you have an event that you would like to see added to this list, please send email to leglab-www@ai.mit.edu with appropriate information.


Copyright MIT Leg Laboratory. All Rights Reserved.