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A DISTRIBUTED NEURAL CONTROLLER FOR LOCOMOTION IN LINEAR MODULAR ROBOTIC CONFIGURATIONS

A DISTRIBUTED NEURAL CONTROLLER FOR LOCOMOTION IN LINEAR MODULAR ROBOTIC CONFIGURATIONS

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Published by Juan Gonzalez Gomez
Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) are well known for oscillatory output when in a closed loop with the feedback from the system it is controlling. Here we propose a new neural controller for locomotion in linear modular robotic configurations, based on oscillatory output from simple ANNs. We investigate two different methods for controlling the action of each module based on the neural output, and also evolve neural controllers which have the ability to overcome external perturbations. We use a standard Genetic Algorithm (GA) for optimizing the synaptic weights of the ANN
Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) are well known for oscillatory output when in a closed loop with the feedback from the system it is controlling. Here we propose a new neural controller for locomotion in linear modular robotic configurations, based on oscillatory output from simple ANNs. We investigate two different methods for controlling the action of each module based on the neural output, and also evolve neural controllers which have the ability to overcome external perturbations. We use a standard Genetic Algorithm (GA) for optimizing the synaptic weights of the ANN

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Published by: Juan Gonzalez Gomez on Jun 08, 2011
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04/09/2013

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C
HAPTER
VII
A DISTRIBUTED NEURAL CONTROLLER FORLOCOMOTION IN LINEAR MODULAR ROBOTICCONFIGURATIONS
AVINASH RANGANATH, JUAN GONZÁLEZ-GOMEZ and LUISMORENO LORENTERobotics Lab, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, {juan.gonzalez.gomez, javier.gonzalez-quijano, mohamed.Abderrahim}@uc3m.ing.esArtificial Neural Networks (ANNs) are well known for oscillatory outputwhen in a closed loop with the feedback from the system it is controlling.Here we propose a new neural controller for locomotion in linear modularrobotic configurations, based on oscillatory output from simple ANNs. Weinvestigate two different methods for controlling the action of each modulebased on the neural output, and also evolve neural controllers which havethe ability to overcome external perturbations. We use a standard GeneticAlgorithm (GA) for optimizing the synaptic weights of the ANN
1 Introduction
In the past decade, research in the field of modular robotics has seen a rise.Experimental results in using such systems for dull, dirty and dangerousoperations have been encouraging. With self reconfiguration capabilities,modular robots promise to be operable in unforeseen environments andterrains. Locomotion is one of the primary features for such a system to beable to function efficientlyCEBOT (Fukuda, 1988), (Fukuda, 1990) by Fukuda et al. is one of theearliest demonstration of a modular robotic system. Here the authors
 
2
 Robots colaborativos e interacción humano-robot 
demonstrate locomotion in modular robots through self-reconfiguration of individual modules, where each module has the ability to move indepen-dently. PolyBot (Yim, 1994) by Mark Yim is a classical example of chainarchitecture reconfigurable modular robots, which has demonstrated manymodes of locomotion including walking, crawling, rolling, climbing, etc.We proceed by classifying locomotion controllers in section 2, in sec-tion 3 we explain the robotic platform on which the experiments are based.Section 4 contains experiments and results, and we finish the paper by pro-viding concluding remarks and future work in section 5.
2 Locomotion controllers for modular robots
Locomotion in general, weather it is a gallop of an horse, or flappingwings of a bird, or humanoid bipedal walking, can be seen as repetitiveand coordinated movements of limbs, which result in the emergence of lo-comotion gaits. And in limbless creatures like snakes, inchworm or cater-pillars, it is the coordinated expansion and contraction of the body mus-cles. Therefore, in essence, locomotion can be seen as coordinated oscilla-tion of limbs. Looking at locomotion as a collection of oscillation, a steadydifference in phase between these oscillations can produce the required co-ordination. We proceed by classifying and reviewing different types of controllers implemented for locomotion in modular robots.
2.1 Classification
Locomotion controllers for modular robots can be broadly classified intotwo groups [Figure 1(a)]; classical controllers and bio-inspired controllers.The former come from the industrial robotics domain and it is based on in-verse kinematic and trajectory generation. These kinds of controllers arehard to scale with the increase in the degrees of freedom, and they requirehigh computation power. On the contrary the later class of controllers areinspired by biological processes. These controllers have been successfullyimplemented on different modular robotic platforms. Based on the methodused, these controllers can be further sub-classified into Cellular Automo-ta, Digital Hormone Method, and Oscillation based methods [Figure 1(b)].
 
 A DISTRIBUTED NEURAL CONTROLLER FOR LOCOMOTION IN LINEAR MODULAR ROBOTIC CONFIGURATIONS
3Fig. 1. (a) A classification of locomotion controllers for modular robots. (b)Schematic of a generic oscillation based locomotion controller for modular robots.
Lal et al. in (Lal, 2006) have implemented a Cellular Automata model forcontrolling locomotion of a five legged star shaped modular robot, whererules are evolved for controlling the actuator of each module, distributedly,based on the state of the module´s actuator and that of its immediate neigh-boring module´s actuators, in the previous time step.Shen et al. have used a biologically inspired method called Digital Hor-mone Method (Shen, 2000), (Salemi, 2001), (Hou, 2006), for adaptivecommunication of state information between modules, based on which amodule can decide an action from the gait table, which results in the emer-gence of locomotion. A particularly interesting aspect of this work is that if the configuration of the robotic organism changes during runtime, or if oneor some modules fail, with adaptive communication, the locomotion gait isadapted to suit the change in configuration. Digital Hormones have beensuccessfully implemented on two different modular robotic platformscalled CONRO (Castano, 2002), (Shen, 2002) and Superbot (Salemi,2006).Gonzalez-Gomez et al. demonstrate in (Gonzalez-Gomez, 2005) howsimple sinusoidal oscillators can be used on minimal configuration modu-lar robots with two and three modules for generating locomotion in onceand two dimensions respectively, and in (Zhang, 2009) they study the lo-comotion of two different kinds of caterpillar gaits, from a kinematic per-spective, and replicate the same on linear configuration modular robots,again using simple sinusoidal oscillators.In (Sproewitz, 2008) Ijspreet et al. at the Biorobotics Laboratory, EPFL,have used Central Pattern Generators (CPG) (Ijspeert, 2008) for producinglocomotory oscillations on their modular robotic platform called YaMoR

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