How most things run: an oscillator theory perspective
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Legged locomotion on land is often viewed in terms of "gaits" corresponding to repeated patterns of footfalls, suggesting an application of the mathematical theory of limit cycle oscillators. Unlike classical oscillators, the oscillators appearing in locomotion encounter rapid processes that are often modeled as non-smooth "hybrid" transitions.
I present an experimental scientist's perspective on rapid multilegged locomotion that leads us through the development of key tools for the empirical analysis of animal and robot gaits, and on to discovery of new fundamental principles that may underlie the surprising efficacy of legs.