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Control of Biped Locomotion Using Oscillators
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The seeming ease with which vertebrates move indicates the versatility of biological control systems. Experiments have revealed that control of locomotion is to a large degree localized in the spinal cord. It has been proposed that a Central Pattern Generator consisting of coupled non-linear neural oscillators, residing in the spinal cord, may be responsible for the generation of rhythmic patterns governing locomotion.<P>The idea that Central Pattern Generators form a natural way of thinking about the control of repetitive activities is presented and the design of Central Pattern Generators investigated. A new design for Central Pattern Generators involving weak, continuous, background coupling between the oscillators, strong pulse coupling between the oscillators and the controlled system and incorporating sensory feedback is presented. Following the work of Mochon and McMahon, a biped is modeled as a four link mechanism and dynamic models developed. The Central Pattern Generators designed are used to control ballistic walking and running. A distributed numerical/graphical simulation carried out on Mathematica and X windows. An object oriented user interface is designed. The results obtained show that dynamically stable walking and running are achieved.