MODUL – Modular Drive Units for Legged Locomotion

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First, MODUL focuses on developing a so-called series elastic actuation (SEA) unit which will be modular and suited for outdoor operation. The main benefit of the unit is its ability to control the torque used and its robustness against impacts. The envisaged product can be used in many existing, but possibly also new applications that call for a robust mechanism with comparably high torque at low speeds, e.g. for the propulsion system of wheeled, tracked and legged systems, but also to build ‘soft’ robotic arms that are robust against collisions with the environment and that could potentially be used to safely work together with humans.

The second target is to develop a modular, four-legged, energy-efficient multi-purpose transporter, simple to operate, maintain and upgrade, with a high relative payload (50% of body weight) and speed. Immediate target groups of this system are academic and industrial research labs. Future customers might include operators of power plants and chemical/petrochemical facilities that use the robot for inspection and surveillance. Further, applications on rough terrain and in harsh environment, such as search and rescue missions in disaster areas or in context of service robots are envisaged.

For further information please refer to:


Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich

Marco Hutter (coordinator) –

Robotic Systems Lab (ASL):