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Neuromorphic walking gait control

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3 Author(s)
S. Still ; Dept. of Inf. & Comput. Sci., Univ. of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, USA ; K. Hepp ; R. J. Douglas

We present a neuromorphic pattern generator for controlling the walking gaits of four-legged robots which is inspired by central pattern generators found in the nervous system and which is implemented as a very large scale integrated (VLSI) chip. The chip contains oscillator circuits that mimic the output of motor neurons in a strongly simplified way. We show that four coupled oscillators can produce rhythmic patterns with phase relationships that are appropriate to generate all four-legged animal walking gaits. These phase relationships together with frequency and duty cycle of the oscillators determine the walking behavior of a robot driven by the chip, and they depend on a small set of stationary bias voltages. We give analytic expressions for these dependencies. This chip reduces the complex, dynamic inter-leg control problem associated with walking gait generation to the problem of setting a few stationary parameters. It provides a compact and low power solution for walking gait control in robots.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 2 )