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Contact: Catharine June

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About this video

MARLO is the first robot in the lab of Jessy Grizzle, the Elmer G. Gilbert Distinguished University Professor and the Jerry W. and Carol L. Levin Professor of Engineering, that can walk (and fall) in any direction. MARLO steps blindly without supports, sensing the changes in ground height and adjusting its gait according to terrain and speed. It draws on a library of gaits developed by PhD student Xingye “Dennis” Da.

In early attempts on the Wave Field in June, MARLO broke its legs trying and briefly burst into flames when an electrical connector blew.

By the end of July, Da and his fellow students updated the gaits and algorithms to help MARLO navigate the gentler waves between the earthen moguls by integrating the controller for forward-back motion with the one for side-to-side balance. With the team beginning to break up for vacation the following week, they took one last run at the Wave Field and were astonished at MARLO’s ability to walk down one of the gullies and back.

MARLO’s feedback control algorithms could help other two-legged robots as well as powered prosthetic legs gain similar capabilities.


About the Professor

Jessy W. Grizzle is a Professor in the Control Systems Laboratory of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department within the College of Engineering at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is a member of the Systems Laboratory, Robotics and Computer Vision Area, and Michigan Engineering Robotics.

Article topics: MconneX , Robotics


About Michigan Engineering: The University of Michigan College of Engineering is one of the top engineering schools in the country. Eight academic departments are ranked in the nation's top 10 -- some twice for different programs. Its research budget is one of the largest of any public university. Its faculty and students are making a difference at the frontiers of fields as diverse as nanotechnology, sustainability, healthcare, national security and robotics. They are involved in spacecraft missions across the solar system, and have developed partnerships with automotive industry leaders to transform transportation. Its entrepreneurial culture encourages faculty and students alike to move their innovations beyond the laboratory and into the real world to benefit society. Its alumni base of more than 75,000 spans the globe.