Research ArticleHUMAN-ROBOT INTERACTION

Dynamic locomotion synchronization of bipedal robot and human operator via bilateral feedback teleoperation

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Robotics  30 Oct 2019:
Vol. 4, Issue 35, eaav4282
DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.aav4282

Abstract

Despite remarkable progress in artificial intelligence, autonomous humanoid robots are still far from matching human-level manipulation and locomotion proficiency in real applications. Proficient robots would be ideal first responders to dangerous scenarios such as natural or man-made disasters. When handling these situations, robots must be capable of navigating highly unstructured terrain and dexterously interacting with objects designed for human workers. To create humanoid machines with human-level motor skills, in this work, we use whole-body teleoperation to leverage human control intelligence to command the locomotion of a bipedal robot. The challenge of this strategy lies in properly mapping human body motion to the machine while simultaneously informing the operator how closely the robot is reproducing the movement. Therefore, we propose a solution for this bilateral feedback policy to control a bipedal robot to take steps, jump, and walk in synchrony with a human operator. Such dynamic synchronization was achieved by (i) scaling the core components of human locomotion data to robot proportions in real time and (ii) applying feedback forces to the operator that are proportional to the relative velocity between human and robot. Human motion was sped up to match a faster robot, or drag was generated to synchronize the operator with a slower robot. Here, we focused on the frontal plane dynamics and stabilized the robot in the sagittal plane using an external gantry. These results represent a fundamental solution to seamlessly combine human innate motor control proficiency with the physical endurance and strength of humanoid robots.

View Full Text