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GRASP Special Seminar – Tom Libby, UC Berkeley, “A Lizard-Inspired Active Tail Enables Rapid Maneuvers and Dynamic Stabilization in a Terrestrial Robot”

December 6, 2011 @ 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

We present a novel approach to stabilizing rapid locomotion in mobile terrestrial robots inspired by the tail function of lizards.We built a 177 (g) robot with inertial sensors and a single degree-of-freedom active tail. By utilizing both contact forces and zero net angular momentum maneuvering, our tailed robot can rapidly right itself in a fall, avoid flipping over after a large perturbation, and smoothly transition between surfaces of different slopes. We also use a modeling approach to show that a tail-like design offers significant advantages to other alternatives, including reaction wheels, when the speed of
response is important.


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Tom Libby got his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley in 2002, and is now a second year PhD student in the same department, co-advised by Oliver O’Reilly and Robert Full. He also manages the Center for Interdisciplinary Bio-inspiration in Education and Research (CiBER) in the department of Integrative Biology. His research topics include animal locomotion, muscle dynamics, and bio-inspired mobile robotics.


December 6, 2011
2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
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