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Volume 25 Issue 3 - Publication Date: 1 March 2006
 
Fast BipedWalking with a Sensor-driven Neuronal Controller and Real-time Online Learning
 
T, Geng Department of Psychology, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK, B. Porr Department of Electronics & Electrical Engineering, University of Glasgow, UK, and F. Wörgötter Department of Psychology, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK, and Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience University of Göttingen, Germany
 
In this paper, we present our design and experiments on a planar biped robot under the control of a pure sensor-driven controller. This design has some special mechanical features, for example small curved feet allowing rolling action and a properly positioned center of mass, that facilitate fast walking through exploitation of the robot’s natural dynamics. Our sensor-driven controller is built with biologically inspired sensor- and motor-neuron models, and does not employ any kind of position or trajectory tracking control algorithm. Instead, it allows our biped robot to exploit its own natural dynamics during critical stages of its walking gait cycle. Due to the interaction between the sensor-driven neuronal controller and the properly designed mechanics of the robot, the biped robot can realize stable dynamic walking gaits in a large domain of the neuronal parameters. In addition, this structure allows the use of a policy gradient reinforcement learning algorithm to tune the parameters of the sensor-driven controller in real-time, during walking. This way RunBot can reach a relative speed of 3.5 leg lengths per second after only a few minutes of online learning, which is faster than that of any other biped robot, and is also comparable to the fastest relative speed of human walking.
 
Multimedia Key
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Example 1: Changing speed on the fly. (4.9 MB)
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Example 2: Online learning experiment of RunBot (17.9 MB)
 
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