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This paper proposes an effective framework of human-humanoid robot physical interaction. Its key component is a new control technique for full-body balancing in the presence of external forces, which is presented and then validated empirically. We have adopted an integrated system approach to develop humanoid robots. Herein, we describe the importance of replicating human-like capabilities and responses during human-robot interaction in this context. Our balancing controller provides gravity compensation, making the robot passive and thereby facilitating safe physical interactions. The method operates by setting an appropriate ground reaction force and transforming these forces into full-body joint torques. It handles an arbitrary number of force interaction points on the robot. It does not require force measurement at interested contact points. It requires neither inverse kinematics nor inverse dynamics. It can adapt to uneven ground surfaces. It operates as a force control process, and can therefore, accommodate simultaneous control processes using force-, velocity-, or position-based control. Forces are distributed over supporting contact points in an optimal manner. Joint redundancy is resolved by damping injection in the context of passivity. We present various force interaction experiments using our full-sized bipedal humanoid platform, including compliant balance, even when affected by unknown external forces, which demonstrates the effectiveness of the method.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2007