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9 May 2006 Transforming insect electromyograms into pneumatic muscle control
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Robots can serve as hardware models for testing biological hypotheses. Both for this reason and to improve the state of the art of robotics, we strive to incorporate biological principles of insect locomotion into robotic designs. Previous research has resulted in a line of robots with leg designs based on walking and climbing movements of the cockroach Blaberus discoidalis. The current version, Robot V, uses muscle-like Braided Pneumatic Actuators (BPAs). In this paper, we use recorded electromyograms (EMGs) to drive robot joint motion. A muscle activation model was developed that transforms EMGs recorded from behaving cockroaches into appropriate commands for the robot. The transform is implemented by multiplying the EMG by an input gain thus generating an input pressure signal, which is used to drive a one-way closed loop pressure controller. The actuator then can be modeled as a capacitance with input rectification. The actuator exhaust valve is given a leak rate, making the transform a leaky integrator for air pressure, which drives the output force of the actuator. We find parameters of this transform by minimizing the difference between the robot motion produced and that observed in the cockroach. Although we have not reproduced full-amplitude cockroach motion using this robot, results from evaluation on reduced-amplitude cockroach angle data strongly suggest that braided pneumatic actuators can be used as part of a physical model of a biological system.
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Brandon Rutter, Laiyong Mu, Roy Ritzmann, and Roger Quinn "Transforming insect electromyograms into pneumatic muscle control", Proc. SPIE 6230, Unmanned Systems Technology VIII, 62301A (9 May 2006);

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