Biologically Inspired Kinematic Synergies Provide a New Paradigm for
Balance Control of Humanoid Robots
Nature has developed methods for controlling the movements of organisms with
many degrees of freedom which differ strongly from existing approaches for
balance control in humanoid robots: Biological organisms employ kinematic
synergies that simultaneously engage many joints, and which are apparently
designed in such a way that their superposition is approximately linear. We
show in this article that this control strategy can in principle also be
applied to balance control of humanoid robots. In contrast to existing
approaches, this control strategy reduces the need to carry out complex
computations in real time (replacing the iterated solution of quadratic
optimization problems by a simple linear controller), and it does not require
knowledge of a dynamic model of the robot. Therefore it can handle unforeseen
changes in the dynamics of the robot that may for example arise from wind or
other external forces. We demonstrate the feasibility of this novel approach
to humanoid balance control through simulations of the humanoid robot HOAP-2
for tasks that require balance control on a randomly moving surfboard.
Reference: H. Hauser, G. Neumann, A. J. Ijspeert, and W. Maass.
Biologically inspired kinematic synergies provide a new paradigm for balance
control of humanoid robots.
In Proceedings of the IEEE-RAS 7th International Conference on
Humanoid Robots (Humanoids 2007), 2007.
Best Paper Award.