Several indoor and outdoor facilities with state-of-the-art measurement equipment helps us to perform experiments on humans, animals and robots. Details can be found here: Facilities.
Models help us to study the fundamental principles of human and animal locomotion. The derived biomechanical concepts can be applied to bipedal robots, exoskeletons or prosthesis. In the European project Balance, we are working on an active orthosis.
11th Joint Conference on motor control & learning, biomechanics & training in Sport, Darmstadt, Germany (Sep 2016).
International Symposium on the Neuromechanics of Human Movement, Heidelberg, Germany (Oct 2016).
Bioinspired legged locomotion comprises different aspects, such as (i) benefiting from reduced complexity control approaches as observed in humans/animals, (ii) combining embodiment with the controllers and (iii) reflecting neural control mechanisms. One of the most important lessons learned from nature is the significant role of compliance in simplifying control, enhancing energy efficiency and robustness against perturbations for legged locomotion. In this research, we investigate how body morphology in combination with actuator design may facilitate motor control of leg function. Inspired by the human leg muscular system, we show that biarticular muscles have a key role in balancing the upper body, joint coordination and swing leg control. Appropriate adjustment of biarticular spring rest length and stiffness can simplify the control and also reduce energy consumption. In order to test these findings, the BioBiped3 robot was developed as a new version of BioBiped series of biologically inspired, compliant musculoskeletal robots (Fig. 1). In this robot, three-segmented legs actuated by mono- and biarticular series elastic actuators mimic the nine major human leg muscle groups. With the new biarticular actuators in BioBiped3, novel simplified control concepts for postural balance and for joint coordination in rebounding movements (drop jumps) were demonstrated and approved (Fig. 2).
Read the complete paper here.