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A cerebellar-based solution to the nondeterministic time delay problem in robotic control


Abstract: The presence of computation and transmission-variable time delays within a robotic control loop is a major cause of instability, hindering safe human-robot interaction (HRI) under these circumstances. Classical control theory has been adapted to counteract the presence of such variable delays; however, the solutions provided to date cannot cope with HRI robotics inherent features. The highly nonlinear dynamics of HRI cobots (robots intended for human interaction in collaborative tasks), together with the growing use of flexible joints and elastic materials providing passive compliance, prevent traditional control solutions from being applied. Conversely, human motor control natively deals with low power actuators, nonlinear dynamics, and variable transmission time delays. The cerebellum, pivotal to human motor control, is able to predict motor commands by correlating current and past sensorimotor signals, and to ultimately compensate for the existing sensorimotor human delay (tens of milliseconds). This work aims at bridging those inherent features of cerebellar motor control and current robotic challenges—namely, compliant control in the presence of variable sensorimotor delays. We implement a cerebellar-like spiking neural network (SNN) controller that is adaptive, compliant, and robust to variable sensorimotor delays by replicating the cerebellar mechanisms that embrace the presence of biological delays and allow motor learning and adaptation.
Keywords: adaptive / robotic / delays / control in the presence / HRI / inherent features / transmission variable time / solutions

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