A Simply Stabilized Running Model

The spring-loaded inverted pendulum (SLIP), or monopedal hopper, is an archetypal model for running in numerous animal species. Although locomotion is generally considered a complex task requiring sophisticated control strategies to account for coordination and stability, we show that stable gaits can be found in the SLIP with both linear and “air” springs, controlled by a simple fixed-leg reset policy. We first derive touchdown-to-touchdown PoincarĂ© maps under the common assumption of negligible gravitational effects during the stance phase. We subsequently include and assess these effects and briefly consider coupling to pitching motions. We investigate the domains of attraction of symmetric periodic gaits and bifurcations from the branches of stable gaits in terms of nondimensional parameters.