Robot Locomotion Group-CSAIL-Tedrake_LittleDog
As part of the DARPA Learning Locomotion project, the CSAIL Robot Locomotion Group under the direction of Prof. Russ Tedrake has been designing robust control strategies for a small quadruped robot to dynamically traverse rough terrain containing obstacles with heights comparable to the leg length of the robot. The success of these efforts was due to an efficient kinematic planning algorithm which selects footholds and transitions across the terrain, and on the design of new kinodynamic motion planning tools for double-support gaits (in which two feet are off the ground at the same time for a portion of the gait cycle).
This video, taken by Katie Byl, MIT MechE PhD candidate, demonstrates a rare combination of careful foot placements and aggressive dynamic movements, all generated by the same machinery. The robot, 'LittleDog,' is built by Boston Dynamics and operates in a motion capture environment with 'known' terrain; the hope is that this technology will transition to the 'BigDog' robot in the near future in order to improve its capabilities for negotiating 'extreme' terrain. In addition to Byl, other team members include EECS graduate student Alec Shkolnik and CSAIL software project manager, Sam Prentice.
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