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Journal Articles Frontiers in Robotics and AI Year : 2023

Zero-shot model-free learning of periodic movements for a bio-inspired soft-robotic arm

Paris Oikonomou
  • Function : Author
Athanasios Dometios
  • Function : Author
Mehdi Khamassi
Costas Tzafestas
  • Function : relator_co_last_author


In recent years, soft robots gain increasing attention as a result of their compliance when operating in unstructured environments, and their flexibility that ensures safety when interacting with humans. However, challenges lie on the difficulty to develop control algorithms due to various limitations induced by their soft structure. In this paper, we introduce a novel technique that aims to perform motion control of a modular bio-inspired soft-robotic arm, with the main focus lying on facilitating the qualitative reproduction of well-specified periodic trajectories. The introduced method combines the notion behind two previously developed methodologies both based on the Movement Primitive (MP) theory, by exploiting their capabilities while coping with their main drawbacks. Concretely, the requested actuation is initially computed using a Probabilistic MP (ProMP)-based method that considers the trajectory as a combination of simple movements previously learned and stored as a MP library. Subsequently, the key components of the resulting actuation are extracted and filtered in the frequency domain. These are eventually used as input to a Central Pattern Generator (CPG)-based model that takes over the generation of rhythmic patterns at the motor level. The proposed methodology is evaluated on a two-module soft arm. Results show that the first algorithmic component (ProMP) provides an immediate estimation of the requested actuation by avoiding time-consuming training, while the latter (CPG) further simplifies the execution by allowing its control through a low-dimensional parameterization. Altogether, these results open new avenues for the rapid acquisition of periodic movements in soft robots, and their compression into CPG parameters for long-term storage and execution.
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hal-04249680 , version 1 (19-10-2023)




Paris Oikonomou, Athanasios Dometios, Mehdi Khamassi, Costas Tzafestas. Zero-shot model-free learning of periodic movements for a bio-inspired soft-robotic arm. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 2023, 10, pp.1256763. ⟨10.3389/frobt.2023.1256763⟩. ⟨hal-04249680⟩
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