We report on our empirical studies of a new controller for a two-link brachiating robot. Motivated by the pendulum-like motion of an ape's brachiation, we encode this task as the output of a "target dynamical system." Numerical simulations indicate that the resulting controller solves a number of brachiation problems that we term the "ladder," "swing-up," and "rope" problems. Preliminary analysis provides some explanation for this success. The proposed controller is implemented on a physical system in our laboratory. The robot achieves behaviors including "swing locomotion" and "swing up" and is capable of continuous locomotion over several rungs of a ladder. We discuss a number of formal questions whose answers will be required to gain a full understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of this approach.
Date of this Version
brachiation, dynamically dexterous robotics, limit cycles, locomotion, swing map, symmetry, target dynamics, task encoding, underactuated system
Date Posted: 13 March 2008
This document has been peer reviewed.