Elasticity is a fundamental property of dynamic locomotion and is generally thought to affect the efficiency and stability of motion. In particular, it is becoming increasingly apparent that elastically-suspended loads are common in biology and useful for carrying loads. For example, the Suspended Load Backpack reduces the peak forces and energy cost during locomotion. In this paper, we present a simple model of locomotion to examine the effect of elastically-suspended loads on the peak forces, energy cost, and stability during locomotion. The results from the model show that elastically-suspended loads reduce the peak forces, energy cost, and stability of locomotion compared to rigidly-attached loads, thus indicating that a tradeoff exists between the decreased stability of locomotion and the reduction of peak forces and energy cost. We discuss this tradeoff and the implications of reduced stability on locomotion over rough terrain and the maneuverability of a system.

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