Using Nonlinear Normal Modes for Execution of Efficient Cyclic Motions in Articulated Soft Robots

Cosimo Della Santina*, Dominic Lakatos, Antonio Bicchi, Alin Albu-Schaeffer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
58 Downloads (Pure)


Thanks to their body elasticity, articulated soft robots promise to produce effective and robust oscillations with low energy consumption. This in turn is an important feature which can be exploited in the execution of many tasks, as for example locomotion. Yet, an established theory and general techniques allowing to excite and sustain these nonlinear oscillations are still lacking. A possible solution to this problem comes from nonlinear modal theory, which defines curved extensions of linear Eigenspaces called Eigenmanifolds. Stabilizing these surfaces is equivalent to exciting regular hyper-efficient oscillations in the robotic system. This paper proposes a first experimental validation of the Eigenmanifold stabilization technique. It also proposes a simple yet effective means of injecting energy into the system, so to sustain the oscillations in presence of damping. We consider as experimental setups a single robotic leg, and a full soft quadruped. Preliminary locomotion results are provided with both systems.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExperimental Robotics
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 17th International Symposium (ISER 2020)
EditorsBruno Siciliano, Cecilia Laschi, Oussama Khatib
Place of Publication978-3-030-71150-4
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-71151-1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventISER 2020: 17th International Symposium on Experimental Robotics
- , Malta
Duration: 9 Nov 202112 Nov 2021

Publication series

NameSpringer Proceedings in Advanced Robotics
ISSN (Print)2511-1256
ISSN (Electronic)2511-1264


ConferenceISER 2020: 17th International Symposium on Experimental Robotics

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Articulated soft robotics
  • Feedback control
  • Locomotion
  • Nonlinear oscillations


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