Embodiment Enables the Spinal Engine on Quadruped Robot Locomotion

type: 

Conference Presentation

Speaker(s) : Qian Zhao

Event : 2012 IEEE/RSJ Internattional Conference on Intelligent Robots and
Systems

Place : Portugal

Date and Time : 09/10/2012, 2:45 pm

Abstract : The biological hypothesis of spinal engine states that locomotion
is mainly achieved by the spine, while the legs may serve as assistance.
Inspired by this hypothesis, a compliant, multiple degree-of-freedom,
biologically-inspired spine has been embedded into a quadruped robot, named
Kitty, which has no actuation on the legs. In this paper, we demonstrate how
versatile behaviors (bounding, trotting, and turning) can be generated
exclusively by the spine's movements through dynamical interaction between
the controller, the body, and the environment, known as embodiment. Moreover,
we introduce information theoretic approach to quantitatively study the spine
internal dynamics and its effect on the bounding gait based on three spinal
morphologies. These three morphologies differ in the position of virtual
spinal joint where the spine is easier to get bent. The experimental results
reveal that locomotion can be enhanced by using the spine featuring a rear
virtual spinal joint, which offers more freedom for the rear legs to move
forward. In addition, the information theoretic analysis shows that,
according to the morphological differences of the spine, the information
structure changes. The relationship between the observed behavior of the
robot and the corresponding information structure is discussed in detail.

Partners : UZH - AILab

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