Controlling tensegrity robots through evolution

Atil Iscen, Adrian Agogino, Vytas SunSpiral, Kagan Tumer
2013 Proceeding of the fifteenth annual conference on Genetic and evolutionary computation conference - GECCO '13  
Tensegrity structures (built from interconnected rods and cables) have the potential to o↵er a revolutionary new robotic design that is light-weight, energy-e cient, robust to failures, capable of unique modes of locomotion, impact tolerant, and compliant (reducing damage between the robot and its environment). Unfortunately robots built from tensegrity structures are di cult to control with traditional methods due to their oscillatory nature, nonlinear coupling between components and overall
more » ... mplexity. Fortunately this formidable control challenge can be overcome through the use of evolutionary algorithms. In this paper we show that evolutionary algorithms can be used to e ciently control a ball shaped tensegrity robot. Experimental results performed with a variety of evolutionary algorithms in a detailed soft-body physics simulator show that a centralized evolutionary algorithm performs 400% better than a handcoded solution, while the multiagent evolution performs 800% better. In addition, evolution is able to discover diverse control solutions (both crawling and rolling) that are robust against structural failures and can be adapted to a wide range of energy and actuation constraints. These successful controls will form the basis for building high-performance tensegrity robots in the near future.
doi:10.1145/2463372.2463525 dblp:conf/gecco/IscenAST13 fatcat:n4eo6ooqanbw5f7sqowv6r2p4u