The spring inverted pendulum model with an extended trunk (TSLIP) is widely used to investigate the postural stability in bipedal locomotion [1, 2]. The challenge of the model is to define a hip torque that generates feasible gait patterns while stabilizing the floating trunk. The virtual point (VP) method is proposed as a simplified solution, where the hip torque is coupled to the passive compliant leg force via a virtual point. This geometric coupling is based on the assumption that the instantaneous ground reaction forces of the stance phase (GRF) intersect at a single virtual point.
Bipedal animals have diverse morphologies and advanced locomotion abilities. Terrestrial birds, in particular, display agile, efficient, and robust running motion, in which they exploit the interplay between the body segment masses and moment of inertias. On the other hand, most legged robots are not able to generate such versatile and energy-efficient motion and often disregard trunk movements as a means to enhance their locomotion capabilities. Recent research investigated how trunk motions affect the gait characteristics of humans, but there is a lack of analysis across different bipedal morphologies. To address this issue, we analyze avian running based on a spring-loaded inverted pendulum model with a pronograde (horizontal) trunk. We use a virtual point based control scheme and modify the alignment of the ground reaction forces to assess how our control strategy influences the trunk pitch oscillations and energetics of the locomotion. We derive three potential key strategies to leverage trunk pitch motions that minimize either the energy fluctuations of the center of mass or the work performed by the hip and leg. We suggest how these strategies could be used in legged robotics.
Oezge Drama, , Johanna Vielemeyer, , Alexander Badri-Spröwitz, , Müller, R.
2020 (article) In revision
Postural stability is one of the most crucial elements in bipedal
locomotion. Bipeds are dynamically unstable and need to maintain their
trunk upright against the rotations induced by the ground reaction forces
(GRFs), especially when running. Gait studies report that the GRF vectors
focus around a virtual point above the center of mass (VPA), while the trunk
moves forward in pitch axis during the stance phase of human running.
However, a recent simulation study suggests that a virtual point below the
center of mass (VPB) might be present in human running, since a VPA
yields backward trunk rotation during the stance phase. In this work, we
perform a gait analysis to investigate the existence and location of the
VP in human running at 5 m s−1, and support our findings numerically
using the spring-loaded inverted pendulum model with a trunk (TSLIP).
We extend our analysis to include perturbations in terrain height (visible
and camouflaged), and investigate the response of the VP mechanism
to step-down perturbations both experimentally and numerically. Our
experimental results show that the human running gait displays a VPB
of ≈ −30 cm and a forward trunk motion during the stance phase. The
camouflaged step-down perturbations affect the location of the VPB. Our
simulation results suggest that the VPB is able to encounter the step-down
perturbations and bring the system back to its initial equilibrium state.
Impact of trunk orientation for dynamic bipedal locomotion
My research revolves around investigating the functional demands of bipedal running, with focus on stabilizing trunk orientation. When we think about postural stability, there are two critical questions we need to answer: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions to achieve and maintain trunk stability?
I am concentrating on how morphology affects control strategies in achieving trunk stability. In particular, I denote the trunk pitch as the predominant morphology parameter and explore the requirements it imposes on a chosen control strategy.
To analyze this, I use a spring loaded inverted pendulum model extended with a rigid trunk, which is actuated by a hip motor. The challenge for the controller design here is to have a single hip actuator to achieve two coupled tasks of moving the legs to generate motion and stabilizing the trunk. I enforce orthograde and pronograde postures and aim to identify the effect of these trunk orientations on the hip torque and ground reaction profiles for different control strategies.
Our goal is to understand the principles of Perception, Action and Learning in autonomous systems that successfully interact with complex environments and to use this understanding to design future systems