Investigation of Standing Up Strategies and Considerations for Gait Planning for a Novel Three-Legged Mobile Robot

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Virginia Tech


This thesis addresses two important issues when operating the novel three legged mobile robot STriDER (Self-excited Tripedal Dynamic Experimental Robot); how to stand up after falling down while minimizing the motor torques at the joints and considerations for gait planning. STriDER uses a unique tripedal gait to walk with high energy efficiency and has the ability to change directions. In the first version of STriDER, the concept of passive dynamic locomotion was emphasized; however, for the new version, all joints are actively controlled for robustness. The robot is inherently stable when all three feet are on the ground due to its tripod stance, but it can still fall down if it trips while taking a step or if unexpected external forces act on it. The unique structure of STriDER makes the simple task of standing up challenging for a number of reasons; the high height of the robot and long limbs require high torque at the actuators due to its large moment arms; the joint configuration and length of the limbs limit the workspace where the feet can be placed on the ground for support; the compact design of the joints allows limited joint actuation motor output torque; three limbs do not allow extra support and stability in the process of standing up. This creates a unique problem and requires novel strategies to make STriDER stand up. This thesis examines five standing up strategies unique to STriDER: three feet pushup, two feet pushup, one foot pushup, spiral pushup, and feet slipping pushup. Each strategy was analyzed and evaluated considering constraints such as static stability, friction at the feet, kinematic configuration and joint motor torque limits to determine optimal design and operation parameters. Using the findings from the analysis, experiments were conducted for all five standing up strategies to determine the most efficient standing up strategy for a given prototype using the same design and operation parameters for each method. Also, a literature review was conducted for human standing from a chair and human pushup exercises and the conclusions were compared to the analysis presented in this thesis.

Many factors contribute to the development of STriDER's gait. Several considerations for gait planning as the robot takes a step are investigated, including: stability, dynamics, the body's maximum and minimum allowable heights, the swing legs foot clearance to the ground, and the range of the subsequent swing foot contact positions. A static stability margin was also developed to asses the stability of STriDER. This work will lay the foundation for future gait generation research for STriDER. Additionally, guidelines for future work on single step gait generation based on kinematics and dynamics are discussed.

The findings presented will advance the capabilities and adaptability of the novel robot STriDER. By studying standing up strategies and gait planning issues, the most efficient control methods can be implement for standing up and preparing to take a step and lay out the foundations for future research and development on STriDER.



gait planning, stability, standing up strategies, three-legged robot, robot locomotion, kinematics