Revisiting Averaging Theory for Control of Biologically Inspired Robots

GT-MAP Seminars
Friday, April 14, 2017 - 15:00
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 006
Robotic locomotive mechanisms designed to mimic those of their biological counterparts differ from traditionally engineered systems. Though both require overcoming non-holonomic properties of the interaction dynamics, the nature of their non-holonomy differs.  Traditionally engineered systems have more direct actuation, in the sense that control signals directly lead to generated forces or torques, as in the case of rotors, wheels, motors, jets/ducted fans, etc. In contrast, the body/environment interactions that animals exploit induce forces  or torque that may not always align with their intended direction vector.Through periodic shape change animals are able to effect an overall force or torque in the desired direction. Deriving control equations for this class of robotic systems requires modelling the periodic interaction forces, then  applying averaging theory to arrive at autonomous nonlinear control models whose form and structure resembles that of traditionally engineered systems. Once obtained, classical nonlinear control methods may be applied, though some  attention is required since the control can no longer apply at arbitrary  time scales.The talk will cover the fundamentals of averaging theory and efforts to identify a generalized averaging strategy capable of recovering the desired control equations. Importantly, the strategy reverses the typical approach to averaged expansions, which significantly simplifies the procedure. Doing so  provides insights into feedback control strategies available for systems controlled through time-periodic signals.