A Neural Net Controller for a Six-Legged Walking System

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings - From Perception to Action Conference, PerAc 1994


A system that controls the leg movement of an animal or a robot walking over irregular ground has to react adoptively to unpredictablefeatures of the environment. We present here a model for the control of the leg movement of a 6-legged walking system. The model is based on biological data obtained from the stick insect. The model extends a previous algorithmic model by substituting simple networks of artificial neurons for the algorithms previously used to control leg state and interleg coordination. Each system controlling an individual leg consists of three subnets. A hierarchically superior net rhythmically suppresses the output of one or the other of the two subordinal nets. These are responsible for controlling the return stroke (swing net) and the power stroke (stance net) movement, respectively. The swing module can produce appropriate return stroke movements for a broad range of initial and final positions, can cope with mechanical disturbances of the leg movement and is able to react to an obstacle which hinders the normal performance of the swing movement. The complete model is able to walk at different speeds over irregular surfaces. The control system rapidly reestablishes a stable gait when the movement of the legs is disturbed.