I worked on feedback-driven central pattern generators (BvP model) on a small humanoid hopping robot for my Diploma thesis, with my supervisors Hartmut Witte at Technical University of Ilmenau, Germany and Luc Berthouze in Tsukuba, Japan at AIST.

At Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland) I developed the YaMor II and the Roombots self-reconfiguring modular robot platform, for my PhD thesis at Auke Jan Ijspeert’s Biorobotics laboratory. For my postgraduate studies I co-developed the quadruped robot series Cheetah-cub, Bobcat robot, and Oncilla robot, also at the Biorobotics lab.

I worked with Jonathan Hurst at Oregon State University (USA) on the ATRIAS2.1 robot. I had an exciting research stay with Monica Daley at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC, London, UK) working on locomotion of the helmeted guineafowl, a ground running bird. After, I worked with Metin Sitti at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems.

I currently lead the Dynamic Locomotion Group at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, as a MP Research Group Leader. I am also faculty member at the International Max Planck Research School for Intelligent Systems (IMPRS-IS) , and Associate Member of the Max Planck ETH Center for Learning Systems.

Education and positions held

  • 2016 – present
    • MPRGL Dynamic Locomotion Group, Stuttgart, Germany
  • 2015 – 2016
    • Postdoc Researcher MPI-IS Stuttgart, with Metin Sitti
  • 2013 – 2014
    • Postdoc Researcher Oregon State University (USA) + RVC, London (UK), with Jonathan Hurst and Monica Daley
  • 2011 – 2012
    • Postdoc Researcher EPFL, Biorobotics Laboratory, Switzerland, with Auke Ijspeert
  • 2006 – 2010
    • PhD in Manufacturing Systems and Robotics, EPFL, Switzerland, with Auke Ijspeert
  • 1999 – 2005
    • Diplom Mechantronics, TU Ilmenau

Research Summary

I am researching the mechanisms leading to dynamic legged locomotion in animals. I focus on aspects of animal biomechanics, morphology, and neurocontrol. My team and I are testing biomechanical and control models, and we develop legged robots, their computer models, and biomechanical experiments.

We apply legged robots as research platforms to produce experimental data under realistic conditions. We can cross-check our data with that of running animals. This enables us identifying the relationship between effects, and draw conclusions about causalities.

My interest include: bioinspired and biomimicking locomotion, bioinspired approaches to sensors, learning locomotion, both in animals and robots.

Key publications

  • Spröwitz, Alexander, Alexandre Tuleu, Massimo Vespignani, Mostafa Ajallooeian, Emilie Badri, and Auke Ijspeert. “Towards Dynamic Trot Gait Locomotion: Design, Control and Experiments with Cheetah-Cub, a Compliant Quadruped Robot.” International Journal of Robotics Research 32, no. 8 (2013): 932 – 950.
  • Spröwitz, Alexander, Rico Moeckel, Jerome Maye, and Auke Jan Ijspeert. “Learning to Move in Modular Robots Using Central Pattern Generators and Online Optimization.” The International Journal of Robotics Research 27, no. 3–4 (March 1, 2008): 423–43.
  • Hubicki, Christian, Jesse Grimes, Mikhail Jones, Daniel Renjewski, Alexander Spröwitz, Andy Abate, and Jonathan Hurst. “ATRIAS: Design and Validation of a Tether-Free 3D-Capable Spring-Mass Bipedal Robot.” The International Journal of Robotics Research 35, no. 12 (October 1, 2016): 1497–1521.
  • Renjewski, Daniel, Alexander Spröwitz, Andrew Peekema, Mikhail Jones, and Jonathan Hurst. “Exciting Engineered Passive Dynamics in a Bipedal Robot.” IEEE Transactions on Robotics 31, no. 5 (September 16, 2015): 1244–1251.
  • Spröwitz, Alexander T., Alexandre Tuleu, Mostafa Ajallooeian, Massimo Vespignani, Rico Möckel, Peter Eckert, Michiel D’Haene, et al. “Oncilla Robot: A Versatile Open-Source Quadruped Research Robot With Compliant Pantograph Legs.” Frontiers in Robotics and AI 5 (2018).