Seminar: Design, Modeling and Control of a Biologically-Inspired Bat Robot; Prof. Seth Hutchinson, GeorgiaTech

  • Date: Wednesday 4 July 2018
  • Time: 13.00 - 14.00
  • Location: School of Chemical and Process Eng. (SCAPE) SR 4.06

In this talk, I will describe our recent progress building a
biologically-inspired bat robot. Bats have a complex skeletal
morphology, with both ball-and-socket and revolute joints that
interconnect the bones and muscles to create a musculoskeletal system
with over 40 degrees of freedom, some of which are passive. Replicating
this biological system in a small, lightweight, low-power air vehicle is
not only infeasible, but also undesirable; trajectory planning and
control for such a system would be intractable, precluding any
possibility for synthesizing complex agile maneuvers, or for real-time
control. Thus, our goal is to design a robot whose kinematic structure
is topologically much simpler than a bat’s, while still providing the
ability to mimic the bat-wing morphology during flapping flight, and to
find optimal trajectories that exploit the natural system dynamics,
enabling effective controller design.

The kinematic design of our robot is driven by motion capture
experiments using live bats. In particular, we use principal component
analysis to capture the essential bat-wing shape information, and solve
a nonlinear optimization problem to determine the optimal kinematic
parameters for a simplified parallel kinematic wing structure. We then
derive the Lagrangian dynamic equations for this system, along with a
model for the aerodynamic forces. We use a shooting-based optimizer to
locate physically feasible, periodic solutions to this system, and an
event-based control scheme is then derived in order to track the desired
trajectory. We demonstrate our results with flight experiments on our
robotic bat.

Brief Bio:

Seth Hutchinson is Professor and KUKA Chair for Robotics in the School
of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where
he also serves as Associate Director of the Institute for Robotics and
Intelligent Machines. Hutchinson received his Ph.D. from Purdue
University in 1988, and in 1990 joined the University of Illinois in
Urbana-Champaign, where he was a Professor of Electrical and Computer
Engineering (ECE) until 2017, serving as Associate Department Head of
ECE from 2001 to 2007. He is currently an Emeritus Professor of ECE.

Hutchinson currently serves on the editorial board of the International
Journal of Robotics Research and chairs the steering committee of the
IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters. He was Founding Editor-in-Chief of
the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society’s Conference Editorial Board
(2006-2008) and Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transaction on Robotics
(2008-2013). He has published more than 200 papers on the topics of
robotics and computer vision, and is coauthor of the books “Principles
of Robot Motion: Theory, Algorithms, and Implementations,” published by
MIT Press, and “Robot Modeling and Control,” published by Wiley.
Hutchinson is a Fellow of the IEEE.