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Algorithms for finding gaits of locomotive mechanisms: case studies for Gorilla robot brachiation


We consider a model of a 24-degree-of-freedom monkey robot that is supposed to perform a brachiation locomotion, i.e. to swing from one row of a horizontal ladder to the next one using the arms. The robot hand is constructed as a planar hook so that the contact point, about which the robot swings, is a passive hinge. We identify the 10 most relevant degrees of freedom for this underactuated mechanical system and formulate a tractable search procedure consisting on the following steps: (a) to introduce a parametrized family of coordination patterns to be enforced on the dynamics with respect to a path coordinate; (b) to formulate geometric equality constraints that are necessary to achieve a periodic locomotion; (c) to generate trajectories from integrable reduced dynamics associated with the passive hinge; (d) to evaluate the energetic cost of transport. Moreover, we observe that a linear approximation of the reduced dynamics can be used for trajectory generation, which allows us to incorporate computation of an approximate gradient of the cost function into the search algorithm significantly improving the computational efficiency.

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  1. Most of dissipative forces appear in actuated joints and can be compensated by an appropriate feedback action.


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We would like to thank Professor Toshio Fukuda for suggesting the problem and for providing us with technical characteristics of the 24-degrees-of-freedom Gorilla robot built at the Nagoya University, Japan and to acknowledge valuable discussions with Toshio Fukuda, Tadayoshi Aoyama, and Zhiguo Lu.

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Correspondence to Stepan S. Pchelkin.

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Pchelkin, S.S., Shiriaev, A.S., Mettin, U. et al. Algorithms for finding gaits of locomotive mechanisms: case studies for Gorilla robot brachiation. Auton Robot 40, 849–865 (2016).

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  • Dynamic robot locomotion
  • Underactuated robots
  • Trajectory generation
  • Virtual holonomic constraints
  • Numerical optimization