The Sciences

NCBI ROFL: Friday flashback: This robot is for science...yeah, that's the ticket...

DiscoblogBy ncbi roflJun 17, 2011 11:00 PM

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A control system for a flexible spine belly-dancing humanoid. "Recently, there has been a lot of interest in building anthropomorphic robots. Research on humanoid robotics has focused on the control of manipulators and walking machines. The contributions of the torso towards ordinary movements (such as walking, dancing, attracting mates, and maintaining balance) have been neglected by almost all humanoid robotic researchers. We believe that the next generation of humanoid robots will incorporate a flexible spine in the torso. To meet the challenge of controlling this kind of high-degree-of-freedom robot, a new control architecture is necessary. Inspired by the rhythmic movements commonly exhibited in lamprey locomotion as well as belly dancing, we designed a controller for a simulated belly-dancing robot using the lamprey central pattern generator. Experimental results show that the proposed lamprey central pattern generator module could potentially generate plausible output patterns, which could be used for all the possible spine motions with minimized control parameters. For instance, in the case of planar spine motions, only three input parameters are required. Using our controller, the simulated robot is able to perform complex torso movements commonly seen in belly dancing as well. Our work suggests that the proposed controller can potentially be a suitable controller for a high-degree-of-freedom, flexible spine humanoid robot. Furthermore, it allows us to gain a better understanding of belly dancing by synthesis."

Photo: flickr/muddyclay

[Editor's note: the photo above is not actually the robot described in the article]

Related content: Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Behavioural responses of dogs to asymmetrical tail wagging of a robotic dog replica. Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Introducing…the automatic LOLcat detector! Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Development of a two-layer movable sweating thermal manikin. WTF is NCBI ROFL? Read our FAQ!

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