Online trajectory generation in an amphibious snake robot using a lamprey-like central pattern generator model
This article presents a control architecture for controlling the locomotion of an amphibious snake/lamprey robot capable of swimming and serpentine locomotion. The control architecture is based on a central pattern generator (CPG) model inspired from the neural circuits controlling locomotion in the lamprey's spinal cord. The CPG model is implemented as a system of coupled nonlinear oscillators on board of the robot. The CPG generates coordinated travelling waves in real time while being interactively modulated by a human-operator. Interesting aspects of the CPG model include (1) that it exhibits limit cycle behavior (i.e. it produces stable rhythmic patterns that are robust against perturbations), (2) that the limit cycle behavior has a closed-form solution which provides explicit control over relevant characteristics such as frequency, amplitude and wavelength of the travelling waves, and (3) that the control parameters of the CPG can be continuously and interactively modulated by a human operator to offer high maneuverability. We demonstrate how the CPG allows one to easily adjust the speed and direction of locomotion both in water and on ground while ensuring that continuous and smooth setpoints; are sent to the robot's actuated joints.