Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization -- Department for Nonlinear Dynamics and Network Dynamics Group
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BCCN/BFNT AG-Seminar

Tuesday, 09.06.2009 17 c.t.
Seminar canceled!

Central pattern generators for locomotion control in animals and robots

by Prof. Dr. Auke Ijspeert
from School of Computer and Communication Sciences, EPFL, Schweiz

Contact person: Florentin Wörgötter

Location

Seminarraum Haus 2, 4. Stock (Bunsenstr.)

Abstract

Animal locomotion control is in a large part based on central pattern generators (CPGs), which are neural networks capable of producing complex rhythmic patterns while being activated and modulated by relatively simple control signals. These networks are located in the spinal cord for vertebrate animals. In this talk, I will present how we model CPGs of lower vertebrates (lamprey and salamander) using systems of coupled oscillators, and how we test the CPG models on board of amphibious robots, in particular a new salamander-like robot capable of swimming and walking. The goal of the project is to explore three important questions related to vertebrate locomotion: (i) the modifications undergone by the spinal locomotor circuits during the evolutionary transition from aquatic to terrestrial locomotion, (ii) the mechanisms necessary for coordination of limb and axial movements, and (iii) the mechanisms that underlie gait transitions. If time allows, I will also present how abstract CPG models can be used to control the locomotion of various robots (quadruped, humanoid and reconfigurable modular robots), and serve as useful substrates for doing online learning (i.e. learning while moving).

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