From Bio-Inspired Emergent Control of Locomotion Systems

The concept of a Central Pattern Generator (CPG), a network of neurons producing the locomotion pattern within a lattice of neural activity, is a suitable paradigm for biologically inspired control of artificial locomotion. In this Chapter a new approach to the design of CPGs, based on Cellular Neural Networks (CNNs), is presented. Prom a biological point of view this new approach includes an approximated chemical synapse implemented in a CNN structure. This allows us to obtain a general class of artificial CPGs in which the desired locomotion pattern and switching among patterns are achieved by means of a spatio-temporal algorithm implemented in the CNN structure.

2.1 Introduction

Walking animals employ several distinct periodic patterns of leg movements, called gaits. Stereotyped movements (locomotion patterns) are also observed in swimming, flying, crawling animals. The hypothesis underlying the CPG is that these patterns are due to a pattern of neural activities within the CPG network (the key feature of these networks is that the pattern of neural activity is mapped onto the pattern of locomotor activity). This concept is useful in robotics, since the control of a legged robot is a hard task, involving a high number of interconnected degrees of freedom (DOF). Its application to robotics gives rise to the following problem: given a desired behavior (i.e. a locomotion pattern), generating the feedforward signals driving the legs of the robot.

A widespread approach to modelling CPGs is to use dynamical systems [Cohen et. al. (1982); Collins and Stewart (1993a); Collins and...

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Topics of Interest

2.2 Brief Overview on CNN Architectures CNNs were introduced by L.O.Chua [Chua and Yang (1988a); Chua and Yang (1988b)] in 1988. His idea was to use an array of simple, identical, locally...

2.7 Motor-Neurons and Inter-Neurons The neurons belonging to the CPG network have been referred to in this Chapter as motor-neurons. The reason for this is that they are directly used to drive the...

2.4 The CNN-Based CPG In this Section it is shown how connections among CNN neurons lead to complex systems able to constitute the CPG for artificial locomotion control Firstly we discuss the...

In this Section decentralized locomotion control inspired by the stick insect model is dealt with. In this model the locomotion pattern is the result of a set of local influences among leg controllers...

Overview This Chapter deals with navigation control from the perspective of analog computation. Two approaches are introduced: the first is based on Turing patterns and the second on autowaves. The...