Bonus LCSR Seminar, Kaushik Jayaram, “Towards robust and autonomous locomotion in cluttered terrain using insect-scale robots”

May 1, 2024 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Latrobe 107
Michele Greatti

Talk Title: Towards robust and autonomous locomotion in cluttered terrain using insect-scale robots


Talk Abstract: Animals such as mice, cockroaches and spiders have the remarkable ability to maneuver through challenging cluttered natural terrain and have been inspiration for adaptable legged robotic systems. Recent biological research further indicates that body reorientation along pathways of minimal energy is a key factor influencing such locomotion. We propose to extend this idea by hypothesizing that body compliance of soft bodied animals and robots might be an alternate yet effective locomotion strategy to squeeze through cluttered obstacles. We present some early results related to the above using Compliant Legged Autonomous Robotic Insect (CLARI), our novel, insect-scale, origami-based quadrupedal robot. While the distributed compliance of such soft-legged robots enables them to explore complex environments, their gait design, control, and motion planning is often challenging due to a large number of unactuated/underactuated degrees of freedom. Towards addressing this issue, we present a geometric motion planning framework for autonomous, closed kinematic chain articulated systems that is computationally effective and has a promising potential for onboard and real-time gait generation.

Biography: Dr. Kaushik Jayaram is presently an Assistant Professor in Robotics at the Paul M Rady Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. Previously, he was a post-doctoral scholar in Prof. Rob Wood’s Microrobotics lab at Harvard University. He obtained his doctoral degree in Integrative Biology in 2015 from the University of California Berkeley mentored by Prof. Bob Full and undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in 2009, with interdisciplinary research experiences at the University of Bielefeld, Germany, and Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland. Dr. Jayaram’s research combines biology and robotics to, uncover the principles of robustness that make animals successful at locomotion in natural environments, and, in turn, inspire the design of the next generation of novel robots for effective real-world operation. His work has been published in a number of prestigious journals and gained significant popular media attention. Besides academic research, Dr. Jayaram’s group is actively involved in several outreach activities that strive toward achieving diversity, equity and inclusivity in STEM.