Towards a Comparative Measure for Legged Agility

We introduce an agility measure enabling the comparison of two very different leaping-from-rest transitions by two comparably powered but morphologically different legged robots. We use the measure to show that a flexible spine outperforms a rigid back in the leaping- from-rest task. The agility measure also sheds light on the source of this benefit: core actuation through a sufficiently powerful parallel elastic actuated spine outperforms a similar power budget applied either only to preload the spine or only to actuate the spine during the leap, as well as a rigid backed configuration of the identical machine.