Note: Special Time and Place!

Abstract for the November 21, 1997 Robotics Institute Seminar

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Optimal Gait Synthesis for Locomotion Systems

Jim Ostrowski
Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics
University of Pennsylvania

Refreshments at 2:45pm, Talk begins at 3:15pm
Scaife Hall

In this talk, we will discuss issues of optimal control and selection of gaits for a class of nonholonomic locomotion systems that exhibit group symmetries. We study optimal gaits for the snakeboard, a representative example of this class of systems. The use of Lagrangian reduction techniques to simplify the optimal control problem will be discussed, along with a general theoretical framework and an algorithm to obtain numerical solutions to this problem. This work employs optimal control techniques to study the optimality of gaits and issues involving gait transitions. The general framework to be described can easily be applied to other examples of biological and robotic locomotion.

Biographical Information
Jim Ostrowski is an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics department at the University of Pennsylvania and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Computer and Information Science. His expertise is in nonlinear dynamics and control, particularly in the area of the mechanics and control of robotic locomotion systems. He has studied a wide variety of systems, including snakes, paramecia, and most recently, eel-like swimming. He has developed a geometric formulation of locomotion that has been applied to a diverse set of systems, including a novel system he introduced called the snakeboard.

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