Computational foundations of anthropomorphic locomotion


Anthropomorphic locomotion is a complex process that involves a very large number of degrees of freedom, the human body having more than three hundred joints against thirty in humanoid robots. Taken as a whole, these degrees of freedom show a certain coherence making it possible to set the anthropomorphic system in motion and maintain its equilibrium, in order to avoid falling. This thesis highlights the computational foundations behind this orchestration. It introduces a unified mathematical framework allowing both the study of human locomotion and the generation of locomotive trajectories for humanoid robots. This framework consists of a reduction of the body-complete dynamics of the system to consider only its projection around the center of gravity, also called centroid dynamics. Although reduced, we show that this centroidal dynamics plays a central role in the understanding and formation of locomotive movements. To do this, we first establish the observability conditions of this dynamic, that is to say that we show to what extent this data can be apprehended from sensors commonly used in biomechanics and robotics. Based on these observability conditions, we propose an estimator able to reconstruct the unbiased position of the center of gravity. From this estimator and the acquisition of walking motions on various subjects, we highlight the presence of a cycloidal pattern of the center of gravity in the sagittal plane when the human is walking nominally, that is, to say without thinking. The presence of this motif suggests the existence of a motor synergy hitherto unknown, supporting the theory of a general coordination of movements during locomotion. The last contribution of this thesis is on multi-contact locomotion. Humans have remarkable agility to perform locomotive movements that require joint use of the arms and legs, such as when climbing a rock wall. How to equip humanoid robots with such capabilities? The difficulty is certainly not technological, since current robots are able to develop sufficient mechanical powers. Their performances, evaluated both in terms of quality of movement and computing time, remain very limited. In this thesis, we address the problem of generating multi-contact trajectories in the form of an optimal control problem. The interest of this formulation is to start from the reduced model of centroid dynamics while responding to equilibrium constraints. The original idea is to maximize the likelihood of this reduced dynamic with respect to body-complete dynamics. It is based on learning a measurement of occupation that reflects the kinematic and dynamic capabilities of the robot. It is effective: the resulting algorithmic is compatible with real-time applications. The approach has been successfully evaluated on the humanoid robot HRP-2, on several modes of locomotion, thus demonstrating its versatility.
Université Toulouse 3 Paul Sabatier (UT3 Paul Sabatier), 2017