LCSR Seminar: Auke Ijspeert “Investigating animal locomotion using biorobots”
The ability to efficiently move in complex environments is a fundamental property both for animals and for robots, and the problem of locomotion and movement control is an area in which neuroscience, biomechanics, and robotics can fruitfully interact. In this talk, I will present how biorobots and numerical models can be used to explore the interplay of the four main components underlying animal locomotion, namely central pattern generators (CPGs), reflexes, descending modulation, and the musculoskeletal system. Going from lamprey to human locomotion, I will present a series of models that tend to show that the respective roles of these components have changed during evolution with a dominant role of CPGs in lamprey and salamander locomotion, and a more important role for sensory feedback and descending modulation in human locomotion. I will also present a recent project showing how robotics can provide scientific tools for paleontology. Interesting properties for robot and lower-limb exoskeleton locomotion control will finally be discussed.
Auke Ijspeert is a professor at EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland) since 2002, and head of the Biorobotics Laboratory. He has a BSc/MSc in physics from EPFL (1995), a PhD in artificial intelligence from the University of Edinburgh (1999). He is an IEEE Fellow. His research interests are at the intersection between robotics, computational neuroscience, nonlinear dynamical systems and applied machine learning. He is interested in using numerical simulations and robots to gain a better understanding of animal locomotion, and in using inspiration from biology to design novel types of robots and controllers. He is also investigating how to assist persons with limited mobility using exoskeletons and assistive furniture.