Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Faculty Candidate Seminar


Dynamic Bipedal Locomotion from Robots to Ostriches and Beyond


Dr. Christian Hubicki


Georgia Institute of Technology


Monday, February 12, 2018 at 11:00:00 AM


MRDC Building, Room 4211


Dr. Gregory Sawicki


Two-legged animals are agile, efficient and stable walkers and runners, even when traversing unstructured environments. Bipedal robots, however, have yet to replicate the performance of their biological counterparts. This seminar focuses on the application of optimization methods to both efficiently control walking/running robots and understand the biology that inspired them. Multiple methods and investigations are presented, specifically how to: (1) generate efficient and formally stable walking on the efficient humanoid robot, DURUS; (2) discover the underlying behavioral priorities of agile ground-running birds, such as pheasants and ostriches; (3) synthesize strategies for locomotion on complex deformable terrain (e.g. sand); (4) unify these insights to heuristically control the ATRIAS bipedal robot, which is able to run outdoors at 9 kph and withstand large disturbances. In conclusion, this presentation argues that the problem of bipedal locomotion serves as a template for the cross-disciplinary blending of robotics and neighboring fields of fundamental science.


Dr. Christian Hubicki is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the School of Physics' Complex Rheology and Biomechanics (CRAB) laboratory. His research specializes in bipedal locomotion, specifically optimization methods that span utility in legged robotics and biomechanics. Dr. Hubicki earned his dual-degree PhD in Robotics and Mechanical Engineering working in Oregon State University’s Dynamic Robotics Laboratory. During his doctoral work, he used optimal control tools to study the behavior of cursorial birds and control compliant legged robots - including the bipedal robot, ATRIAS, a DARPA Robotics Challenge invited demonstration. In 2015, Dr. Hubicki joined the AMBER bipedal robotics laboratory as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Georgia Tech, where he further developed control methods for legged robots. In 2017, he joined Georgia Tech's CRAB lab to explore the interaction of robotic locomotion and the physics of complex substrates. His work has also been featured in numerous media outlets, ranging from the Science Channel's Outrageous Acts of Science to CBS television's The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.


Refreshments will be served.