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Thesis Defense: Wankun Sirichotiyakul

Design Optimization, Analysis, and Control of Walking Robots

Passive dynamic walking refers to the dynamical behavior of mechanical devices that are able to naturally walk down a shallow slope in a stable manner, without using actuation or sensing of any kind. Yet, such devices can attain motions that are remarkably human-like by purely exploiting their natural dynamics. This suggests that passive dynamic walking machines can be used to model and study human locomotion; however, there are two major limitations: they can be difficult to design, and they cannot walk on level ground or uphill without some kind of actuation.

To tackle the design of such machines, this thesis presents a mechanism design optimization framework that allows the designer to find the best design parameters based on the chosen performance metric(s). The optimization is formulated as a convex problem, where its solutions are globally optimal and can be obtained efficiently.

To enable locomotion on level ground and uphill, this thesis studies a robot based on a passive walker: the rimless wheel with an actuated torso. We design and validate two control policies for the robot through the use of scalable methodology based on tools from mathematical analysis, optimization theory, linear algebra, differential equations, and control theory.

About the Presenter

photo of Wankun Sirichotiyakul

Wankun Sirichotiyakul received his B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from Boise State University in 2017. He is a part of the Robot Control Laboratory (RCL) directed by Dr. Aykut C. SATICI, whose aim is to enable robots to efficiently and robustly perform desired manipulation and locomotion tasks by designing low-level feedback control and estimation algorithms. Upon graduation, Wankun plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering at Boise State University.

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