Towards a Biomimetic Musculoskeletal Humanoid Robot with Human Movement Capabilities

Video of gait cycle execution by humanoid robot, designed with anatomical model and soft Hydro Muscles. Joint trajectories similar to biological gait. [click on image to see movie]

YouTube: WPI Popovic Labs | Musculoskeletal Humanoid Robot - Gait Cycle | 2018


Towards a goal of achieving human movement capabilities in a legged apparatus, a 12 actuated degree of freedom humanoid legged robot with several highly biomimetic features was designed, built, and tested. The robot incorporates an anatomically accurate model of the human skeletal system with bone geometry exactly matching that of a human, as well as with ligament-like connections allowing only a biologically realistic range of motion. The robot also incorporates musculature in the form of Hydro Muscles, a soft robotic actuator that shows superior strain and efficiency to other commonly used artificial muscles such as the McKibben Muscle, which cannot achieve the biologically realistic strains of human muscles that Hydro Muscles can. The performance of 12 Hydro Muscles were modeled to match mass scaled actuation of human muscles on a lower limb skeletal model to create a biologically authentic walking gait. The lightly tethered robot gait was tested using a treadmill moving at a constant pace of 0.28 m/s. Overall, the robot was able to emulate biological trajectories in walking. Future work will focus on more refined range of motion and balance control. Further extensions of this project will explore the potential of this robot for clinical, prosthetic, orthotic, military defense, and other practical applications.

Publications and Presentations:

1.Julia D’Agostino, Ellen Clarrissimeaux, Shannon Moffat, Juan D. Florez-Castillo, Felix Sanchez, Matthew Bowers, and Marko Popovic "Development of Bioinspired Exosuit Actuated with Hydro Muscles and Novel Compact Robotic Flow Control Valve'', Biodevices 2020 - The 13th International Joint Conference on Biomedical Engineering Systems and Technologies, Valletta, Malta, February 24- 26, 2020
Development of Bioinspired Exosuit Actuated with Hydro Muscles and Novel Compact Robotic Flow Control Valve

2. Moffat, Shannon Marija. "Biologically Inspired Legs and Novel Flow Control Valve Toward a New Approach for Accessible Wearable Robotics." WPI MS Thesis (2019).

3. Andrew Curran, Kenneth Colpritt, Shannon Moffat, and Mariah Sullivan, "Humanoid Walking Robot," WPI Major Qualifying Project, Advisor Marko Popovic, Co-advisor Selcuk Guceri, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA, April 2018.

WPI Popovic Labs, Cambridge Science Festival 2018, posted April 28, 2018

Current Researchers:

Shannon Moffat and Marko B. Popovic

Past Researchers:

Mariah Sullivan, Kenneth Colpritt, Andrew Curran, Selcuk Guceri