SUBJECT: Ph.D. Proposal Presentation
BY: Jeffrey Aguilar
TIME: Thursday, December 10, 2015, 10:00 a.m.
PLACE: Howey Physics, N110
TITLE: Probing the dynamics of a simple jumping robot on hard and soft ground
COMMITTEE: Dr. Daniel I. Goldman, Chair (Physics)
Dr. Harvey Lipkin (ME)
Dr. Kurt Wiesenfeld (Physics)
Dr. Alexander Alexeev (ME)
Dr. Jun Ueda (ME)


Jumping is an important behavior for many animals and robots and is interesting, since, unlike periodic gaits such as hopping or running, it consists almost purely of a transient burst of activity. While bioinspired robots have leveraged the mechanisms of jumping uncovered from numerous biological studies, systematic studies of the dynamics of these transient behaviors, particularly on complex media, are scarce. We have previously performed one of the few studies characterizing the dependence of jumping performance on the system's hybrid dynamics. This proposal presents a robophysics approach to systematically studying the dynamics of jumping on both hard and deformable ground. In the study of jumping on hard ground, this work expands on the results from Aguilar et al. (Aguilar et al. Physical Review Letters, 2012) and analyses how relative jumping performance and power requirements of different actuation strategies change at different scales of mass, gravity, stiffness and forcing amplitude. We focus our efforts to understand jumping on deformable media to the dynamics on dry granular media. Such a study necessitates an analysis of not only robot jumping dynamics, but also the dynamics of the granular media during jumping. Our study reveals not only actuation principles crucial to jumping on complex media, but also new granular physics.