Development of a hybrid wheel-legged mobile robot WR-3 designed for the behavior analysis of rats

Qing Shi*, Hiroyuki Ishii, Shunsuke Miyagishima, Shinichiro Konno, Shogo Fumino, Atsuo Takanishi, Satoshi Okabayashi, Naritoshi Iida, Hiroshi Kimura

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents the design and development of a bio-inspired mobile robot called WR-3 (Waseda Rat no. 3). The purpose of the robot is to work as an experimental tool to study social interaction between rats and robots. According to the results of the analysis of the motion of rats, their behavior can be divided into two phases: movement and interaction. Therefore, a novel hybrid mechanism that uses wheels during the movement phase and legs while interacting has been designed to actuate WR-3. Consequently, the robot can move at a high speed using its wheels, and reproduce the rat's interaction behavior using its legs and other parts. Based on body structure of a mature rat, WR-3 has been designed with similar dimensions and shape as a mature rat, and the quality of the shape imitation has been verified by the experiments of a rat's interestingness to the robot and stuffed rat. Evaluation experiments show that WR-3 is capable of reproducing a rat's actions such as chasing, rearing, grooming, mounting, etc., similar to a real rat. Furthermore, preliminary social interaction tests with living rats reveal that WR-3 is to some extent able to evoke natural reactions form a real rat and is therefore able to perform a certain level of realistic interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2255-2272
Number of pages18
JournalAdvanced Robotics
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • WR-3
  • Wheel-legged robot
  • action reproduction
  • behavior analysis
  • bio-inspired

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Science Applications


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