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Title: The dynamics of obstacle traversal during terrestrial locomotion
Author: Daniels, Katherine Alice Jane
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
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Obstacles in the path of travel are a common feature of natural and built environments. The ability to negotiate such terrain, traversing rather than avoiding obstacles, increases the versatility of animal locomotion. The aim of this thesis was to investigate how and why humans and dogs select characteristic changes to gait for obstacle traversal. In a series of experiments, subjects were presented with different types of obstacle and the kinematics of locomotion used to traverse them recorded. Fundamentally different traversal strategies viable for overlapping ranges of obstacle dimensions were identified based on the characteristic kinematics of traversal behaviour. Obstacle traversal strategies were systematically selected based on the dimensions of the obstacle. Adaptations to gait in advance of traversal were shown generally to be localised to the obstacle. The maximum amount by which step length was increased to leap over an obstacle was invariant with approach speed, although the mechanism for lengthening the step changed fundamentally with increasing speed of travel. Preferred traversal dynamics were associated with the minimisation of mechanical energy cost in some but not all of the obstacle conditions investigated. The position of the baseline of the obstacle was identified as an important property for the visual judgement of obstacle position. This body of work provides insight into the control of legged locomotion over irregular terrain. It has potential applications in the design of autonomous legged vehicles.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available