Multibody System Dynamics

, Volume 39, Issue 1–2, pp 95–114 | Cite as

Multi-physics modelling of a compliant humanoid robot

  • Alexandra A. ZobovaEmail author
  • Timothée Habra
  • Nicolas Van der Noot
  • Houman Dallali
  • Nikolaos G. Tsagarakis
  • Paul Fisette
  • Renaud Ronsse


We present a multibody simulator being used for compliant humanoid robot modelling and report our reasoning for choosing the settings of the simulator’s key features. First, we provide a study on how the numerical integration speed and accuracy depend on the coordinate representation of the multibody system. This choice is particularly critical for mechanisms with long serial chains (e.g. legs and arms). Our second contribution is a full electromechanical model of the inner dynamics of the compliant actuators embedded in the COMAN robot, since joints’ compliance is needed for the robot safety and energy efficiency. Third, we discuss the different approaches for modelling contacts and selecting an appropriate contact library. The recommended solution is to couple our simulator with an open-source contact library offering both accurate and fast contact modelling. The simulator performances are assessed by two different tasks involving contacts: a bimanual manipulation task and a squatting tasks. The former shows reliability of the simulator. For the latter, we report a comparison between the robot behaviour as predicted by our simulation environment, and the real one.


Multibody dynamics COMAN Compliant actuators Contact dynamics Humanoid robot Robotran Simbody 



This work is supported by the European Community”s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under Grant 611832 (WALK-MAN), by the foundation “Wallonie-Brussel International” (post-doc scholarship awarded to AZ), and by the Belgian F.R.S.-FNRS (Crédit aux Chercheurs #6809010 awarded to RR, Aspirant #16744574 awarded to NVdN).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra A. Zobova
    • 1
    Email author
  • Timothée Habra
    • 4
  • Nicolas Van der Noot
    • 3
    • 4
  • Houman Dallali
    • 2
  • Nikolaos G. Tsagarakis
    • 2
  • Paul Fisette
    • 4
  • Renaud Ronsse
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of Mechanics and MathematicsLomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Department of Advanced RoboticsIstituto Italiano di TecnologiaGenovaItaly
  3. 3.Biorobotics Laboratory, Institute of Bioengineering, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)EPFL STI IBI BIOROBLausanneSwitzerland
  4. 4.Center for Research in Mechatronics, Institute of Mechanics, Materials, and Civil EngineeringUniversité catholique de Louvain (UCL)Louvain-la-NeuveBelgium

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