MSc. Thesis

Currently completing my Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering. My project title is ‘Design for Rapid Acceleration and Braking Manoeuvres in Bipedal Robots’.

This project has covered many different areas mainly being:

  • Investigating existing platforms.
  • Selecting a suitable actuation and leg morphology. This was a scissor leg morphology using high density BLDC motors along with quasi direct drive. This made use of planetary gears with a transmission ratio of 7.
  • Using trajectory optimisation in the GAMS (General Algabraic Modeling System) enviroment to assist in physical parameter selection given the limitations of available actuators. This has resulted in a paper being published (see here).
  • Full iterative mechanical design process in SolidWorks performing FEM analyses and sticking to budget constraints.
  • Preperation of a full drawing pack for component manufacture, processing material orders, communicating with workshop staff on a weekly basis and managing post machining treatments.
  • Full assembly of the bipedal platform.
  • Design and build a suitable sagittal plane support system for the bideal platform that will limit the robot to 2 degrees of freedom.
  • Embedded system design and component selection.
  • Simulink Real-time system setup which includes setting up Beckhoff EtherCAT network , comminicating with 3rd party engineers for assistance and configuring newly purchased force sensors.
  • Modify an existing in-house camera system in C++ to track a single blob on the robot to allow for position and velocity information to be gather which is vital for the control systems.
  • Veryfing all sensor data is captured correctly and realiably to the accuracy required.
  • Developing a Raibert Controller and SLIP (Spring Loaded Inverted Pendulumn) template for the legged robot.
  • Modelling the system in a physics enginer, V-REP, and evaluting and modying the controller.
  • Merging the mechanical system with the embedded system and begin experiments that ranged from:
    • Evaluating system friction
    • Inestigating motor cogging torques and motor driver limitations
    • Tuning the Raibert Controller
    • Testing 1 degree of freedom hopping
    • Verticle agility (The rate at which maximum verticle leaping can be performed)

Ultimitely the platform was shown to be a success as it was verified to be highly robust given it sustainded several disaterous falls. It is currently rated with the highest verticle agility of all existing platforms which makes it hight suitable for the hight torque requirements needed during rapid acceleration motions.

Please see the Thesis in the link below:

Videos for the different aspects of the work can be seen in the right sidebar.