Development of a Platform for Sensitive Walking

MQP Team:

  • Ennio Claretti  


  • Eduardo Torres-Jara
  • Taskin Padir  

Legged locomotion provides robots with the capability of adapting to different terrain conditions. General complex terrain traversal methodologies solely rely on proprioception which readily leads to instability under dynamical situations. Biological legged locomotion utilizes somatosensory feedback to sense the real-time interaction of the feet with ground to enhance stability. Nevertheless, limited attention has been given to sensing the feet-terrain interaction in robotics. Thisintroduced a paradigm shift in robotic walking called sensitive walking realized through the development of a compliant bipedal platform. This approach utilizes podotactile feedback to enhance real-time walking stability by effectively adapting to variations in the terrain. Adapting legged robotic platforms to sensitive walking is not as simple as attaching any tactile sensor to the feet of a robot. The sensors and the limbs need to have specific characteristics that support the implementation of the algorithms. The challenges in handling the synergy of hardware and sensor design and fabrication in a podotactile-based sensitive walking robot is discussed. Example algorithms based on sensitive walking are provided to handle multiple legged locomotion challenges including stairs and irregular terrain. The bipedal platform provides contact compliance through 12 series elastic actuators and contains 190 highly flexible tactile sensors capable of sensing forces at any incident angle.

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