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Minimalistic control of a compass gait robot in rough terrain

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2 Author(s)
Fumiya Iida ; Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 32 Vassar Street, Cambridge, 02139, USA ; Russ Tedrake

Although there has been an increasing interest in dynamic bipedal locomotion for significant improvement of energy efficiency and dexterity of mobile robots in the real world, their locomotion capabilities are still mostly restricted on flat surfaces. The difficulty of dynamic locomotion in rough terrain is mainly originated in the stability and controllability of gait patterns while exploiting the natural mechanical dynamics of the robots. For a systematic investigation of the challenging problem, this paper presents the simplest control architecture for the compass gait model which can be used for locomotion in rough terrain. Locomotion of the model is mainly achieved by an open-loop oscillator which induces self-stabilizing gait patterns, and we test the proposed control architecture in a real-world robotic platform. In addition, we also found that this controller is capable of varying stride length with a minimum change of control parameters, which enables locomotion in rough terrains. By using these basic principles of self-stability and gait variability, we extended the proposed controller with a simple sensory feedback about the location in the environment, which makes the robot possible to control gait patterns autonomously for traversing a rough terrain. We describe a set of experimental results and discuss how the proposed minimalistic control architecture can be enhanced for dynamic locomotion control in more complex environment.

Published in:

Robotics and Automation, 2009. ICRA '09. IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

12-17 May 2009