Departmental Papers (ESE)


We report on our efforts to develop robot controller composition techniques in the context of dexterous “batting” maneuvers. A robot with a flat paddle is required to strike repeatedly at a falling ball until it is brought to zero velocity at a a specified position. The robot’s workspace is cluttered with obstacles that disconnect the freespace formed when the ball and paddle remain in contact - the machine is forced to “let go” for a time in order to bring the ball to the desired state. The controller compositions that we create will guarantee that a ball introduced in the “safe workspace” remains there and is ultimately brought to the goal. We believe that the developing systems discipline described here may be extended to build a variety of useful dexterous machines that are similarly single-minded in their pursuit of the user’s goal behavior and ability to surmount unanticipated perturbations along the way.

For more information: Kod*Lab

Document Type

Conference Paper

Subject Area

GRASP, Kodlab

Date of this Version


Publication Source

Robotics Research: The Seventh International Symposium



Start Page


Last Page





Postprint version. Published in Robotics Research: The Seventh International Symposium, Part 4, 1996, pages 149-161. The original publication is available at

NOTE: At the time of publication, author Daniel Koditschek was affiliated with the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Currently, he is a faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.

NOTE: The downloadable PDF is the pre-publication of this version.

Bib Tex

@inbook{Burridge_Rizzi_Koditschek_1996, title= {Toward A Systems Theory for the Composition of Dynamically Dexterous Robot Behaviors}, ISBN= {978-1-4471-1254-9, 978-1-4471-0765-1}, url= {}, booktitle= {Robotics Research}, publisher= {Springer London}, author= {Burridge, R. R. and Rizzi, A. A. and Koditschek, D. E.}, editor= {Giralt, Georges and Hirzinger, GerhardEditors}, year= {1996}, month= {Jan}, pages= {149–161} }



Date Posted: 29 September 2014