Booz Allen Distinguished Colloquium in ECE: Dr. Ambarish Goswami, Honda Research: "Humanoid Robots"

Friday, December 11, 2009
2:00 p.m.
Rm. 1110, Main Lecture Hall, Jeong Kim Building
Jess Molina

Booz Allen Hamilton Distinguished Colloquium in Electrical and Computer Engineering

"Balance and Fall Control in Humanoid Robots"

Dr. Ambarish Goswami

Senior Scientist, Honda Research Institute, California

Friday, December 11, 2009

2:00 pm

Jeong H. Kim Engineering Bldg., Rm. 1110


Despite years of research, postural stability and balance in humanoid robots remain an area of active interest -- and some confusion. Why is it that something healthy human beings do effortlessly, is so difficult to understand and replicate in a machine? Why there is still no general consensus on a definition for gait stability? In this talk we will explore these issues in the context of reviewing the fundamentals of balance models and their dynamics in humanoid robots.

Keen interest in balance research sometimes makes us overlook the consequences of a balance failure. Although a fall is a rare event in the life of a humanoid robot, its occurrence is virtually unavoidable, and its consequences are disastrous. A major reason that humanoid robots are not allowed to move freely is the concern of self-damage and injury that can be unintentionally caused by a falling robot. In this respect, we will describe our ongoing work on humanoid robot fall strategy which rapidly modifies the robot's fall direction in order to avoid hitting a person or an object in the vicinity. Our approach is based on intelligent foot placement as well as a method called "inertia shaping" which is aimed at controlling the centroidal inertia of the robot. We demonstrate our results through the simulation of an Asimo-like humanoid robot.


For the past seven years Ambarish Goswami has held a Senior Scientist position at the Honda Research Institute in California, USA. His field is dynamics and control, and his main current research is in balance maintenance and fall for the Honda humanoid robot Asimo.

Ambarish received the Bachelor's degree from Jadavpur University, India, the Master's degree from Drexel University, and the Ph.D. degree from Northwestern University, all in Mechanical Engineering. His Ph.D. work, under Prof. Michael Peshkin, were in the area of automated assembly and robot-assisted surgery. For four years following his graduation he worked at the INRIA Laboratory in Grenoble, France, as a member of the permanent scientific staff. He became interested in human walking and in biomechanics while working on the first anthropomorphic biped robot "BIP" in France. This interest in gait study subsequently brought him to the Center for Human Modeling and Simulation (as an IRCS Fellow) of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and a three year position as a core animation software developer for 3D Studio Max at Discreet (Autodesk).

Ambarish has held visiting researcher positions at the Ohio State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for short periods.

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