In this work, we present a nonlinear dynamics perspective on generating and connecting gaits for energetically conservative models of legged systems. In particular, we show that the set of conservative gaits constitutes a connected space of locally defined 1D submanifolds in the gait space. These manifolds are coordinate-free parameterized by energy level.
We present algorithms for identifying such families of gaits through the use of numerical continuation methods, generating sets and bifurcation points. To this end, we also introduce several details for the numerical implementation. Most importantly, we establish the necessary condition for the Delassus’ matrix to preserve energy across impacts.
An important application of our work is with simple models of legged locomotion that are often able to capture the complexity of legged locomotion with just a few degrees of freedom and a small number of physical parameters. We demonstrate the efficacy of our framework on a one-legged hopper with four degrees of freedom.