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This paper presents three feedback controllers that achieve an asymptotically stable, periodic, and fast walking gait for a 3-D bipedal robot consisting of a torso, revolute knees, and passive (unactuated) point feet. The walking surface is assumed to be rigid and flat; the contact between the robot and the walking surface is assumed to inhibit yaw rotation. The studied robot has 8 DOF in the single support phase and six actuators. In addition to the reduced number of actuators, the interest of studying robots with point feet is that the feedback control solution must explicitly account for the robot's natural dynamics in order to achieve balance while walking. We use an extension of the method of virtual constraints and hybrid zero dynamics (HZD), a very successful method for planar bipeds, in order to simultaneously compute a periodic orbit and an autonomous feedback controller that realizes the orbit, for a 3-D (spatial) bipedal walking robot. This method allows the computations for the controller design and the periodic orbit to be carried out on a 2-DOF subsystem of the 8-DOF robot model. The stability of the walking gait under closed-loop control is evaluated with the linearization of the restricted Poincare map of the HZD. Most periodic walking gaits for this robot are unstable when the controlled outputs are selected to be the actuated coordinates. Three strategies are explored to produce stable walking. The first strategy consists of imposing a stability condition during the search of a periodic gait by optimization. The second strategy uses an event-based controller to modify the eigenvalues of the (linearized) Poincare map. In the third approach, the effect of output selection on the zero dynamics is discussed and a pertinent choice of outputs is proposed, leading to stabilization without the use of a supplemental event-based controller.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2009