Increasing affordance in a spine robot with axial twisting

Previous work explored the usefulness of a sagittal bending spine (LINK) in powering and shaping the body. Taking inspiration from biology, we hope to increase the degrees of freedom of the spine to open up the capabilities of quadrupedal robots to locomote in dynamic and cluttered environments. Toward that end, we explore the use of an isolated axial twisting degree of freedom in a 13 joint quadruped, Twist.


  • Shane Rozen-Levy, Ph.D. Candidate
  • Aja M. Carter, Ph.D.
  • Ethan Musser, M.S.
  • Zeyuan Feng, M.S.
  • Chenze Ning, M.S.
  • Thomas Libby, Ph.D.
  • Daniel E. Koditschek, Ph.D.
  • Benjamin W. McInroe, Ph.D.
  • Robert Full, Ph.D.


  • J. D. Caporale, B. W. McInroe, C. Ning, T. Libby, R. J. Full, and D. E. Koditschek, “Coronal Plane Spine Twisting Composes Shape To Adjust the Energy Landscape for Grounded Reorientation,” in 2020 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), May 2020, pp. 8052–8058. doi: 10.1109/ICRA40945.2020.9197026. (video)


  • ONR N000141612817, a Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship held by Koditschek
  • W911NF1810327 under the SLICE Multidisciplinary University Research Initiatives (MURI) Program