A new biarticular actuator design facilitates control of leg function in BioBiped3

Maziar Ahmad Sharbafi*, Christian Rode, Stefan Kurowski, Dorian Scholz, Rico Möckel, Katayon Radkhah, Guoping Zhao, Aida Mohammadinejad Rashty, Oskar von Stryk, Andre Seyfarth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

49 Citations (Web of Science)


Bioinspired legged locomotion comprises different aspects, such as (i) benefiting from reduced complexity control approaches as observed in humans/animals, (ii) combining embodiment with the controllers and (iii) reflecting neural control mechanisms. One of the most important lessons learned from nature is the significant role of compliance in simplifying control, enhancing energy efficiency and robustness against perturbations for legged locomotion. In this research, we investigate how body morphology in combination with actuator design may facilitate motor control of leg function. Inspired by the human leg muscular system, we show that biarticular muscles have a key role in balancing the upper body, joint coordination and swing leg control. Appropriate adjustment of biarticular spring rest length and stiffness can simplify the control and also reduce energy consumption. In order to test these findings, the BioBiped3 robot was developed as a new version of BioBiped series of biologically inspired, compliant musculoskeletal robots. In this robot, three-segmented legs actuated by mono- and biarticular series elastic actuators mimic the nine major human leg muscle groups. With the new biarticular actuators in BioBiped3, novel simplified control concepts for postural balance and for joint coordination in rebounding movements (drop jumps) were demonstrated and approved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number046003
Number of pages14
JournalBioinspiration & Biomimetics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • legged robots
  • locomotion control
  • musculosklettal systems
  • biarticular actuation

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