Sensor information analysis for a humanoid robot


For a humanoid robot to safely walk in unknown environments, various sensors are used to identify the surface condition and recognize any obstacles. The humanoid robot is not fixed on the surface and the base/orientation of the kinematics change while it is walking. Therefore, if the foot contact changes from the estimated due to the unknown surface condition, the kinematics results are not correct. The robot may not be able to perform the motion commands based on the incorrect surface condition. Some robots have built-in range sensors but it’s difficult to accurately model the surface from the sensor readings because the movement of the robot should be considered and the robot localization should have zero error for correct interpretation of the sensor readings. In this paper, three infrared range sensors are used in order to perceive the floor state. Covariance analysis is incorporated to consider the uncertainties. The accelerometer and gyro sensor are also used in order to detect the moment a foot hits the surface. This information provides correction to the motion planner and robot kinematics when the environment is not modeled correctly.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sooyong Lee.

Additional information

Sooyong Lee received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea, in 1989 and 1991, respectively, and his Ph.D. degree from MIT, Cambridge, MA, in 1996. He worked as a Senior Research Scientist at KIST and then as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University. He joined Hongik University, Seoul, Korea in 2003 and is currently a Professor in the Mechanical and System Design Engineering Department. His current research includes mobile robot localization and navigation, and active sensing.

Paul Y. Oh received mechanical engineering degrees from McGill (B.Eng 1989), Seoul National (M.Sc 1992), and Columbia (Ph.D. 1999) universities. Paul Oh is a full professor and ASME Fellow at Drexel University’s Mechanical Engineering Department. From 2008–2010, he served at the National Science Foundation (NSF) as the Program Director managing the robotics research portfolio. He has authored over 90 referred archival papers and edited 2 books in the areas of robotics and unmanned systems. Honors include faculty fellowships at NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (2002), Naval Research Lab (2003 and 2013), the NSF CAREER award (2004), the SAE Ralph Teetor Award for Engineering Education Excellence (2005) and being named a Boeing Welliver Fellow (2006). He is the Director of the Drexel Autonomous Systems Lab and also the Founding Chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Aerial Robotics and UAVs.

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Lee, S., Oh, P.Y. Sensor information analysis for a humanoid robot. Int. J. Control Autom. Syst. 13, 175–181 (2015).

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  • Contact state estimation
  • deadreckoning
  • floor state estimation