Control of Planar Spring-Mass Running Through Virtual Tuning of Radial Leg Damping

Secer, Gorkem
Saranlı, Uluç
Existing research on dynamically capable legged robots, particularly those based on spring-mass models, generally considers improving in isolation either the stability and control accuracy on the rough terrain, or the energetic efficiency in steady state. In this paper, we propose a new method to address both, based on the hierarchical embedding of a simple spring-loaded inverted pendulum (SLIP) template model with a tunable radial damping coefficient into a realistic leg structure with series-elastic actuation. Our approach allows using the entire stance phase to inject/remove energy both for transient steps and in steady state, decreasing the maximum necessary actuator power while eliminating wasteful sources of the negative work. In doing so, we preserve the validity of the existing analytic approximations to the underlying SLIP model, propose improvements to increase the predictive accuracy, and construct accurate, model-based controllers that use the tunable damping coefficient of the template model. We provide extensive comparative simulations to establish the energy and power efficiency advantages of our approach, together with the accuracy of model-based gait control methods.


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Widely accepted utility of simple spring-mass models for running behaviors as descriptive tools, as well as literal control targets, motivates accurate analytical approximations to their dynamics. Despite the availability of a number of such analytical predictors in the literature, their validation has mostly been done in simulation, and it is yet unclear how well they perform when applied to physical platforms. In this paper, we extend on one of the most recent approximations in the literature to ensure it...
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Pronking is a legged locomotory gait in which all legs are used in synchrony, usually resulting in slow speeds but long flight phases and large jumping heights that may potentially be useful for mobile robots locomoting in cluttered natural environments. Instantiations of this gait for robotic systems suffer from severe pitch instability either due to underactuated leg designs, or the open-loop nature of proposed controllers. Nevertheless, both the kinematic simplicity of this gait and its dynamic nature su...
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An adaptive self-tuning control scheme is developed for end-point position control of flexible manipulators. The proposed scheme has three characteristics. First, it is based on a dynamic model of a flexible manipulator described in cartesian coordinates, which eliminates the burden and inaccuracy of translating a desired end-point trajectory to joint coordinates using inverse kinematic relations. Second, the effect of flexibility is included in the dynamic model by approximating flexible links with a numbe...
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Citation Formats
G. Secer and U. Saranlı, “Control of Planar Spring-Mass Running Through Virtual Tuning of Radial Leg Damping,” IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ROBOTICS, pp. 1370–1383, 2018, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: