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From me shed, son: passive dynamic walker challenge

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by Simon Spooner, Jun 29, 2012.


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    I said that I was bored the other week and fancied a new job. Someone suggested I take up a new hobby. I got myself some Lego mindstorms robotics kits to play with Grace with. Then tonight she came home from school with a bag of bits and a slip saying that the class were exploring forces and motion and that we should build something together to help with their learning.

    Now, knowing how competitive the parents at Grace's school are, my Mrs jokingly said "you better build a rocket to launch a satellite then". Which got me thinking....

    I'm going to build a passive dynamic walker with Grace- go google. I know at least a handful of the folk here like to tinker in their sheds/ garages- Kirby and Isaacs being just two, so I got to thinking maybe we could have a podiatry arena challenge to build a passive dynamic walker, film it, youtube it; may the best design win it. Kind of a "great egg race" for the biomechanically orientated podiatrist.

    Here's some inspiration:

    Mine will win, obviously ;)
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  2. Simon:

    When I was visiting Penn State Biomechanics Lab doing the STJ axis cadaver research in September 2004, Steve Piazza gave me a collection of Steven Collins' videos of passive dynamic walkers from the Cornell University Human Power Lab. You can find most of them here on this website.


    Since I'm still in Scotland, I can't send them to you now. Some of these passive dynamic walkers are quite incredible machines. Enjoy.:drinks
  3. So, can I take that as an "in" from you, Kevin. I'm sure the grand-children will enjoy the entertainment of these toys.
  4. Maybe in August I will have some free time again. Won't be home from Scotland until Sunday evening and then I am solidly booked in the office with patients and surgeries until the end of July. Lecturing at three seminars in June really has put me behind. However, I will be happy to judge the contest.;)
  5. Yeah, take your time; see it as a marathon not a sprint. Yet, clearly my robots will be faster than yours. If you don't feel confident in being able to manufacture one of these, that's fine too; not everyone can build droids ;):D :hammer:
  6. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    See below
  7. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member


    What a great idea.

    I'd never heard of it until this thread.

    I've just been online and laughed myself hollow watching the Cornell passive dynamic walker, complete with swinging arms, making its way down a slight incline.

    I was laughing because the 'thing' seemed to have personality, attitude, aggressivity, interest in life, optimism and it was definitely male. I would even have assessed it as having an above average IQ. What other stuff do we pick up just from the way somebody walks?

  8. And what gradient are we allowed for it to walk down?
  9. efuller

    efuller MVP

    Does it get a little push to start?
  10. You can give it a push start. The smaller the angle of the gradient, the cooler you are- anyone can make a ball roll down a hill. Biped is obviously coolest too, but if you can't manage that try a tripod /quad. Stiff legs are fine, if you can get knees to work, you're probably a jedi. :drinks

    Got to put some time in now then if your guys are getting involved.
  11. twirly

    twirly Well-Known Member

  12. phil

    phil Active Member

    Ok, so I bought myself some lego. Got it home and had to explain it to my wife- easy enough. Had to fight the kids to use it- a bit harder. Now trying to make a two legged walking machine- it's really hard!

    I'm finding the biggest problem is not enough friction between the ramp and the feet. It's too slippery. I might end up filming a bipedal passive dynamic ice-skater. Would that still count?

    Maybe it could be a sub-catagory? PLease!

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