Biorobotics Laboratory BioRob

Java Applet for the Locomotion Controller of the Salamander Robot


Within the framework of their study of animal locomotion, and more precisely of the transition from swimming to walking during vertebrate evolution, the team from the Biologically Inspired Robotics Group (BIRG) at EPFL developed a salamander robot capable of performing both walking and swimming gaits and smooth transition between the two.

The locomotion controller for this robot is a combination of a body central pattern generator (CPG) similar to a lamprey CPG for swimming and a limb CPG coupled to it to generate a walking gait. The salamander CPG is modelled as a chain of coupled nonlinear oscillators written in C code.

The aim of this project was to give a better visibility and accessibility to this research work by developing a Java applet for the controller. Researchers and scientists would this way be able to access the model from anywhere in the world through the internet and visualize the effects of different parameters on the behaviour of the oscillators through the user interface providing analysis graphs.

The first step was thus to carry the C code of the controller into Java code and check that it performed well. After that the graphical user interface had to be designed and developed and the different functionalities of the controller could be tested.