Microsoft Future Leaders in Robotics and AI Seminar Series: Oluwami (Wami) Dosunmu-Ogunbi

Friday, March 15, 2024
2:30 p.m.
Online Seminar

Stepping into the Future: Unveiling a Novel Stair Climbing Controller

Oluwami (Wami) Dosunmu-Ogunbi
PhD Candidate
University of Michigan

Zoom Link


Toward the goal of developing robots for a robot-assisted world, these robots need to be equipped with intelligent controllers that allow for robust navigation in our human-centric world. Stairs pose a unique challenge for humans and bipedal robots alike. A new control paradigm using angular momentum and foot placement as state variables in the linear inverted pendulum model has expanded the realm of possibilities for the control of bipedal robots. This new paradigm, known as the Angular Linear Inverted Pendulum (ALIP) model, has shown effectiveness in cases where a robot's center of mass height can be assumed to be constant or near constant as well as in cases where there are no non-kinematic restrictions on foot placement. Walking up and down stairs violates both of these assumptions, where center of mass height varies significantly within a step and the geometry of the stairs restrict the effectiveness of foot placement.

In this presentation, we explore a variation of the ALIP model that allows the length of the virtual pendulum formed by the robot's stance foot and center of mass to follow smooth trajectories during a step. We couple this model with a control strategy constructed from a novel combination of virtual constraint-based control and a model predictive control algorithm to stabilize a stair-climbing gait that does not solely rely on foot placement. Simulations on a 20-degree of freedom model of the Cassie biped in the SimMechanics simulation environment show that the controller is able to achieve periodic gait. Hardware experiments also show the promise of improving the robustness of walking gaits on inclined surfaces.


Oluwami (Wami) Dosunmu-Ogunbi has recently completed her doctoral requirements for the Robotics program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in Technology and Management at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2017, a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor in 2020, and another master’s degree in Robotics at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor in 2021. Her current research interests include controls with applications in bipedal locomotion. Specifically, she is developing robust stair climbing algorithms for underactuated bipedal robots. She is recognized as a GEM Fellow and a Rackham Merit Fellow.

For more information please visit her website:

About the Seminar Series

The Future Leaders in Robotics and AI: Celebrating Diversity and Innovation Seminar Series is part of the University of Maryland and Microsoft Robotics and Diversity Initiative. This is a nationwide online seminar series for PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, or early-career professionals, especially underrepresented minorities and women. The seminar series highlights the latest research and innovation in the field of robotics and AI. The series is intended to provide exposure and mentorship opportunities to the speakers, build a network of innovators across the country, and support the speakers’ career planning.

The seminars are held once per month during the academic year. There are two speakers per seminar. Each speaker gives a 20-minute research presentation followed by a Q&A segment. Immediately after the second seminar, the speakers participate in a discussion with faculty.

Audience: Public 

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