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Volume 22 Issue 3 - Publication Date: 1 March 2003
 
Adaptive Dynamic Walking of a Quadruped Robot on Irregular Terrain Based on Biological Concepts
 
Yasuhiro Fukuoka and Hiroshi Kimura Graduate School of Information Systems, University of Electro-Communications, Chofu, Tokyo 182-8585, Japan and Avis H. Cohen Department of Biology and Institute, for Systems Research, Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
 
We have been trying to induce a quadruped robot to walk with medium walking speed on irregular terrain based on biological concepts. We propose the necessary conditions for stable dynamic walking on irregular terrain in general, and we design the mechanical system and the neural system by comparing biological concepts with those necessary conditions described in physical terms. A PD controller at the joints can construct the virtual spring-damper system as the visco-elasticity model of a muscle. The neural system model consists of a central pattern generator (CPG) and reflexes. A CPG receives sensory input and changes the period of its own active phase. The desired angle and P-gain of each joint in the virtual spring-damper system is switched based on the phase signal of the CPG. CPGs, the motion of the virtual spring-damper system of each leg and the rolling motion of the body are mutually entrained through the rolling motion feedback to CPGs, and can generate adaptive walking. We report on our experimental results of dynamic walking on terrains of medium degrees of irregularity in order to verify the effectiveness of the designed neuro-mechanical system. We point out the trade-off problem between the stability and the energy consumption in determining the cyclic period of walking on irregular terrain, and we show one example to solve this problem. MPEG footage of these experiments can be seen at http://www.kimura.is.uec.ac.jp
 
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