Thursday, 6 August 2015

Kinematic gait synthesis for snake robots

Snake robots are highly articulated mechanisms that can perform a variety of motions that conventional robots cannot. Despite many demonstrated successes of snake robots, these mechanisms have not been able to achieve the agility displayed by their biological counterparts. We suggest that studying how biological snakes coordinate whole-body motion to achieve agile behaviors can help improve the performance of snake robots. The foundation of this work is based on the hypothesis that, for snake locomotion that is approximately kinematic, replaying parameterized shape trajectory data collected from biological snakes can generate equivalent motions in snake robots. To test this hypothesis, we collected shape trajectory data from sidewinder rattlesnakes executing a variety of different behaviors. We then analyze the shape trajectory data in a concise and meaningful way by using a new algorithm, called conditioned basis array factorization, which projects high-dimensional data arrays onto a low-dimensional representation. The low-dimensional representation of the recorded snake motion is able to reproduce the essential features of the recorded biological snake motion on a snake robot, leading to improved agility and maneuverability, confirming our hypothesis. This parameterized representation allows us to search the low-dimensional parameter space to generate behaviors that further improve the performance of snake robots.

from robot theory


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