Development of an Open Source Quadrupedal Robot Platform for Education: SmallKat Public

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In the field of robotics, quadrupedal robotics is a rapidly growing segment. Despite the large number of robotic quadrupeds developed so far, there is currently no platform specifically developed for use in an educational setting. Currently available quadrupeds have several aspects that restrict them to use only in the research labs that developed them, preventing them from being available for use in undergraduate-level classes. This constraint limits the number of people able to gain experience with these highly complex platforms. To enable further development into the field of quadruped robotics, more engineers with in-depth experience with these platforms and the knowledge required to develop and operate them are needed. In this thesis we present the SmallKat platform which strives to fill this space and allow for further development into the fields of dynamic quadruped robotics without the fear of damaging an expensive robot. This thesis proposes a robot designed specifically for the purpose of teaching multiple robotics concepts including kinematics, control, dynamics, trajectory planning, and gait generation. Like many other quadrupedal robots, SmallKat uses 3-DoF legs allowing for coordinated motion in all 3 axes. The size, modularity, cost, and capabilities of the platform are what suit it to teach at a variety of levels. With the integrated sensing and safety features, this platform lends itself to the development of an undergraduate robotics course on quadruped robots, a sample of which is discussed in this thesis. Through the distribution of the SmallKat robot to more schools and universities, the robotics curriculum offered by these universities could be expanded further to offer courses at the undergraduate level in legged robotics.

  • etd-3901
Defense date
  • 2020
Date created
  • 2020-05-17
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