A leg mechanism (walking mechanism) is an assembly of links and joints (a linkage) intended to simulate the walking motion of humans or animals. Mechanical legs can have one or more actuators, and can perform simple planar or complex motion.
Compared to a wheel, a leg mechanism is potentially better fitted to uneven terrain, as it can step over obstacles.
- vertical speed as constant as possible while touching the ground (support phase)
- while the foot is not touching the ground, it should move as fast as possible
- constant torque/force input (or at least no extreme spikes/changes)
- stride height (enough for clearance, not too much to conserve energy)
- the foot has to touch the ground for at least half of the cycle for a two/four leg mechanism or respectively, a third of the cycle for a three/six leg mechanism
- minimized moving mass
- vertical center of mass always inside the base of support
- the speed of each leg or group of legs should be separately controllable for steering
- the leg mechanism should allow forward and backward walking
Another design goal can be, that stride height and length etc. can be controlled by the operator. This can relatively easily be achieved with a hydraulic leg mechanism, but is not practicable with a crank-based leg mechanism.
The optimization has to be done for the whole vehicle – ideally the force/torque variation during a rotation should cancel each other out.
Eight-bar leg mechanism 
Tokyo Institute of Technology walking chair
2 DOF leg mechanism of the RPRPR type. 
Tchebyshevs plantigrade machine
|*||4 legs||6 legs|
|Klann linkage 1|
|Klann linkage 2|
Shown above are only planar mechanisms, but there are also more complex mechanism:
- Jansen's linkage
- Kinematic pairs
- Klann linkage
- Linkage (mechanical)
- Mobile robot
- Hexapod (robotics)
- Shigley, Joseph E. “The Mechanics of Walking Vehicles: A Feasibility Study.” University of Michigan Department of Mechanical Engineering. 1960.  
- Simionescu, P.A., Tempea, I. "Kinematic and kinetostatic simulation of a leg mechanism" 10th World Congress on the Theory of Machines and Mechanisms, Oulu Finland, 1999, p. 572-577
- Funabashi, H., Takeda, Y., Kawabuchi, I. and Higuchi, M. "Development of a walking chair with a self-attitude-adjusting mechanism for stable walking on uneven terrain", 10th World Congress on the Theory of Machines and Mechanisms, Oulu, Finland, 1999, p. 1164–1169.
- Simionescu, P.A. (2014). Computer Aided Graphing and Simulation Tools for AutoCAD Users (1st ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. ISBN 9-781-48225290-3.
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