Steerable Mechanical Walker: Gonk Walker

Steerable Mechanical Gonk Walker

Executive Summary


The steerable mechanical walker is a project led by Professor McCarthy with the intent of challenging engineers to build a robot that can walk and move using simplistic legs. Back in the summer of 2020, a student from SUSTech took the challenge and worked with Professor McCarthy. For winter 2023, we will use the documents and files provided to create a better version of the previous design. Adjustments to the previous model will be made in order to develop a more stable and independent robot. After our work is done, the next team of engineers will be able to dissect and further refine the robot that we have developed.

Goals and Objectives

Our goal is to design a four-legged mechanical walker that can move autonomously while using two motors. The walker should also be capable of turning autonomously. Beginning the quarter, we brainstormed and addressed our sponsor's requirements during weeks 1 and 2. We dissected previous designs and began developing our own design by week 3. By week 4, we began to work on a Solidworks model for our robot and performed motion analysis. By week 5, we ordered parts and are preparing to physically build "Prototype A". Prototype A is to be completed by the end of week 6. "Prototype B", an improved version where the flaws have been mitigated on the existing walker along with the final design/decorations, is to be completed by the end of week 10. Weeks 7 and 8 will focus on testing and iteration. By weeks 9 and 10, the robot is expected to be fully functional.

Our ultimate goal is to have a walker that can compete against and surpass the autonomous robots from MAE 106 during finals week.

Uniqueness and Innovation

The leg mechanism from previous designs will be redesigned to be lined up, centered, and condensed. This will cause the main body to be stable and will reduce the power necessary for the robot to move. The robot will adopt a unique personality and will function independently, making it seem living.

Motion Analysis of Digital Prototype

Forward Walking Animation

Right Turning Animation

Left Turning Animation

U-Turn Animation



Documentation Link

Team Contacts

Connor Linklater:

Jonathan Chavez:

Qiyuan Lu:

Tom Nguyen:


Professor John McCarthy:

Jiaji Li -


Project status: 
Academic year: 
Winter Poster: 
Winter Video: