Legged transport is the most versatile form of locomotion available to humans and animals. Walking is a complex motion and the best bipedal robots of today are not able to walk as adeptly as a human. Many different models for walking have been studied by other researchers, ranging from a single rigid body moving in two dimensions, to systems with many links and actuators moving in three dimensions. Previous simulation work, for a similar system, has predicted that legged robots can have the same energy efficiency as a rolling wheel, but this has yet to be demonstrated in an experimental prototype. This experimental research examines the dynamics of a rimless wheel, one of the simplest models for walking.

Passive dynamic rimless wheels are shown to naturally walk down ramps but there are still areas of their motion which have not yet been examined. With an addition of a small power source, this research shows that it is possible for a simple rimless wheel to walk across level ground. This Powered Simple Rimless Wheel (PSRW) was shown to be capable of stable bounded ``periodic'' motions. In addition, this PSRW's Cost of Transport (COT) ranged from 0.82 to 1.11 for a single step. The results of this study also lay the groundwork for studying the effects of increasing this system's efficiency by reducing energy loss at collisions.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Robots--Motion; Robots--Control; Robots--Energy consumption; Wheels--Dynamics

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Mechanical Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)


Mario W. Gomes

Advisor/Committee Member

Steven Day

Advisor/Committee Member

Alan Nye


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at TJ211.4 .D42 2016


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