Self-Manipulation and Dynamic Transitions for a Legged Robot

Speaker: Aaron Johnson , University of Pennsylvania

Date: Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Time: 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Note: all times are in the Eastern Time Zone

Public: Yes

Location: 32-D463 (Star)

Event Type:

Room Description:

Host: Russ Tedrake, MIT CSAIL

Contact: Anirudha Majumdar,

Relevant URL:

Speaker URL: None

Speaker Photo:

Reminders to:,,

Reminder Subject: TALK: Self-Manipulation and Dynamic Transitions for a Legged Robot

As dynamic robot behaviors become more capable and well understood, there becomes a need for a wide variety of equally capable and understood transitions between these behaviors. For legged robots, we introduce a new formalism for understanding behavioral components as a self-manipulation, and then build up a hybrid system that defines topologically the space of dynamic transitions as a cellular complex. Our primary motivation is not to facilitate numerical simulation but rather to promote design insight -- behavior design, controller design, and platform design. We apply these ideas to several restricted but still interesting particular transitions, most notably jumping transitions, to explore some consequences of the topology of jumps. We document on the RHex robot the most interesting regions in the jumping space, including previously unexplored behaviors and new, unprecedented levels of performance. Finally, we discuss several additional applications to further motivate the need to explore different regions in this rich domain.

Speaker Bio:
Aaron Johnson is a PhD candidate in the GRASP Laboratory, Electrical and Systems Engineering Department, University of Pennsylvania, and received his B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2004, with minors in Philosophy and Robotics. He has worked on a wide variety of robots, including snake robots, legged robots, and the iRobot PackBot. He has demonstrated robots for U.S. Senators, DARPA, the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marines at various bases and other locations including the Mojave Desert, U.S. Army War College, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, power plants, and a coal mine. His research interests include dynamic locomotion, field robotics, actuator modeling and selection, and robot ethics.

Research Areas:

Impact Areas:

This event is not part of a series.

Created by Anirudha Majumdar Email at Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 5:29 PM.