Adaptive Interlimb Coordination Mechanism for Hexapod Locomotion Based on Active Load Sensing

Akira Fukuhara, Wataru Suda, Takeshi Kano, Ryo Kobayashi, Akio Ishiguro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Insects can flexibly coordinate their limbs to adapt to various locomotor conditions, e.g., complex environments, changes in locomotion speed, and leg amputation. An interesting aspect of insect locomotion is that the gait patterns are not necessarily stereotypical but are often highly variable, e.g., searching behavior to obtain stable footholds in complex environments. Several previous studies have focused on the mechanism for the emergence of variable limb coordination patterns. However, the proposed mechanisms are complicated and the essential mechanism underlying insect locomotion remains elusive. To address this issue, we proposed a simple mathematical model for the mechanism of variable interlimb coordination in insect locomotion. The key idea of the proposed model is “decentralized active load sensing,” wherein each limb actively moves and detects the reaction force from the ground to judge whether it plays a pivotal role in maintaining the steady support polygon. Based on active load sensing, each limb stays in the stance phase when the limb is necessary for body support. To evaluate the proposed model, we conducted simulation experiments using a hexapod robot. The results showed that the proposed simple mechanism allows the hexapod robot to exhibit typical gait patterns in response to the locomotion speed. Furthermore, the proposed mechanism improves the adaptability of the hexapod robot for leg amputations and lack of footholds by changing each limb's walking and searching behavior in a decentralized manner based on the physical interaction between the body and the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number645683
JournalFrontiers in Neurorobotics
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Feb 8


  • active load sensing
  • chains of reflex
  • decentralized control algorithm
  • hexapod locomotion
  • inter-limb coordination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence


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