Framework for developing bio-inspired morphologies for walking robots

Peter Billeschou, Nienke N. Bijma, Leon B. Larsen, Stanislav N. Gorb, Jørgen C. Larsen, Poramate Manoonpong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

19 Downloads (Pure)


Morphology is a defining trait of any walking entity, animal or robot, and is crucial in obtaining movement versatility, dexterity and durability. Collaborations between biologist and engineers create opportunities for implementing bio-inspired morphologies in walking robots. However, there is little guidance for such interdisciplinary collaborations and what tools to use. We propose a development framework for transferring animal morphologies to robots and substantiate it with a replication of the ability of the dung beetle species Scarabaeus galenus to use the same morphology for both locomotion and object manipulation. As such, we demonstrate the advantages of a bio-inspired dung beetle-like robot, ALPHA, and how its morphology outperforms a conventional hexapod by increasing the (1) step length by 50.0%, (2) forward and upward reach by 95.5%, and by lowering the (3) overall motor acceleration by 7.9%, and (4) step frequency by 21.1% at the same walking speed. Thereby, the bio-inspired robot has longer and fewer steps that lower fatigue-inducing impulses, a greater variety of step patterns, and can potentially better utilise its workspace to overcome obstacles. Hence, we demonstrate how the framework can be used to develop legged robots with bio-inspired morphologies that embody greater movement versatility, dexterity and durability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6986
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number19
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 7. Oct 2020


  • Bio-inspiration
  • Biology
  • Biomechanics
  • Dung beetle
  • Hexapod
  • Topology optimisation
  • Walking robots


Dive into the research topics of 'Framework for developing bio-inspired morphologies for walking robots'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this