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Department Seminar Series: C. David Remy, Natural Dynamics in Legged Locomotion

Friday, September 5, 2014
12:00 AM
411 West Hall

My research seeks to systematically exploit mechanical dynamics to make future robots faster, more efficient, and more agile then today’s kinematically controlled systems.  Drawing inspiration from biology and biomechanics, I design and control robots whose motion emerges in great part passively from the interaction of inertia, gravity, and elastic oscillations.  Energy is stored and returned periodically in springs and other dynamic elements, and continuous motion is merely initiated and shaped through the active actuator inputs.  In this context, I am particularly interested in the interaction of motion and morphology, the role of different gaits in multi-legged robots, and the possibility of force/torque controllable systems.  We study these questions in conceptual models, in hardware implementations, and through biomechanical experiments.  In the long term, my research will allow the development of systems that reach and even exceed the agility of humans and animals.  It will enable us to build autonomous robots that can run as fast as a cheetah and as enduring as a husky, while mastering the same terrain as a mountain goat.  And it will provide us with novel designs for prosthetics, orthotics, and active exoskeletons that help restoring the locomotion skills of the disabled and can be used as training and rehabilitation devices for the injured.