Multibody Dynamics Model of a Full Human Body for Simulating Walking

Zahra Khakpour, Purdue University


Bipedal robotics is a relatively new research area which is concerned with creating walking robots which have mobility and agility characteristics approaching those of humans. Also, in general, simulation of bipedal walking is important in many other applications such as: design and testing of orthopedic implants; testing human walking rehabilitation strategies and devices; design of equipment and facilities for human/robot use/interaction; design of sports equipment; and improving sports performance & reducing injury. One of the main technical challenges in that bipedal robotics area is developing a walking control strategy which results in a stable and balanced upright walking gait of the robot on level as well as non-level (sloped/rough) terrains. In this thesis the following aspects of the walking control strategy are developed and tested in a high-fidelity multibody dynamics model of a humanoid body model: 1. Kinematic design of a walking gait using cubic Hermite splines to specify the motion of the center of the foot. 2. Inverse kinematics to compute the legs joint angles necessary to generate the walking gait. 3. Inverse dynamics using rotary actuators at the joints with PD (Proportional-Derivative) controllers to control the motion of the leg links. The thee-dimensional multibody dynamics model is built using the DIS (Dynamic Interactions Simulator) code. It consists of 42 rigid bodies representing the legs, hip, spine, ribs, neck, arms, and head. The bodies are connected using 42 revolute joints with a rotational actuator along with a PD controller at each joint. A penalty normal contact force model along with a polygonal contact surface representing the bottom of each foot is used to model contact between the foot and the terrain. Friction is modeled using an asperity-based friction model which approximates Coulomb friction using a variable anchor-point spring in parallel with a velocity dependent friction law. In this thesis, it is assumed in the model that a balance controller already exists to ensure that the walking motion is balanced (i.e. that the robot does not tip over). A multi-body dynamic model of the full human body is developed and the controllers are designed to simulate the walking motion. This includes the design of the geometric model, development of the control system in kinematics approach, and the simulation setup.




El-Mounayri, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Mechanical engineering|Robotics

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