Research Topic

Biological and Robotic Inter-Limb Coordination

About this Research Topic

Animals on the Earth have evolved to counteract the effect of gravity, negotiate terrestrial ground, and locomote more efficiently for predation and survival. Locomotion is thus one of the fundamental functions of life. Through many cycles of evolutionary selection pressure, vertebrates and invertebrates have acquired sophisticated locomotor skills, exhibiting resilient and flexible locomotion in response to changes in body morphology, environment, and context by coordinating leg movements, i.e., inter-limb coordination. Thus, understanding the inter-limb coordination mechanism is both essential for understanding the locomotive mechanism in legged animals and useful for establishing design principles for legged robots that can reproduce flexible and efficient locomotion resembling that exhibited in animals.

Understanding the principles of legged locomotion is a goal shared among biologists and robotics engineers, who have struggled to build multi-legged robots that can exhibit adaptive locomotion via inter-limb coordination. Although it is now possible to create a high-performance architecture e.g., CPU/GPU, to control the movement of a robot, robots are still not able to carry out more than a small fraction of the complex and adaptive behaviors found in animals. Given the limited number of neurons that comprise a nervous system, e.g., insects have only approximately 105 to 106 neurons in their nervous system, we must consider the potential role of not only intrinsic neural circuits in adaptations against unpredictable situations, but also that of the sensory feedback mechanisms that reflect body properties and physical interactions with the environment. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie adaptive locomotion will contribute not only to biology but also to the field of robotics, by facilitating the design of durable and resilient legged robots capable of adapting to unknown situations, much like animals.

Thus, the goal of this Research Topic is to consolidate topics related to “Biological and Robotic Inter-limb Coordination”, in order to encourage the acceleration of collaborative approaches between the fields of biology and robotics.

This Frontiers Research Topic solicits research articles on recent results in both biology and robotics with respect to experiment, measurement, analysis, design, control, and development towards a fuller understanding of the inter-limb coordination mechanism in animals. This includes:
• Neural and behavioral measurements in animals
• Comparative physiology
• Analytic and synthetic approaches
• Novel methodology using deep neural network algorithms
• Embodied Intelligence (Embodiment)
• Centralized and decentralized control
• Modeling and implementation of neural circuit in animals, e.g., central pattern generators (CPGs)
• Soft robotics
• Bio-hybrid system
• Bio-hacking technology


Keywords: Locomotion, Legged Animals, Embodiment, Bio-Inspired Robotics, Robotics-Inspired Biology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Animals on the Earth have evolved to counteract the effect of gravity, negotiate terrestrial ground, and locomote more efficiently for predation and survival. Locomotion is thus one of the fundamental functions of life. Through many cycles of evolutionary selection pressure, vertebrates and invertebrates have acquired sophisticated locomotor skills, exhibiting resilient and flexible locomotion in response to changes in body morphology, environment, and context by coordinating leg movements, i.e., inter-limb coordination. Thus, understanding the inter-limb coordination mechanism is both essential for understanding the locomotive mechanism in legged animals and useful for establishing design principles for legged robots that can reproduce flexible and efficient locomotion resembling that exhibited in animals.

Understanding the principles of legged locomotion is a goal shared among biologists and robotics engineers, who have struggled to build multi-legged robots that can exhibit adaptive locomotion via inter-limb coordination. Although it is now possible to create a high-performance architecture e.g., CPU/GPU, to control the movement of a robot, robots are still not able to carry out more than a small fraction of the complex and adaptive behaviors found in animals. Given the limited number of neurons that comprise a nervous system, e.g., insects have only approximately 105 to 106 neurons in their nervous system, we must consider the potential role of not only intrinsic neural circuits in adaptations against unpredictable situations, but also that of the sensory feedback mechanisms that reflect body properties and physical interactions with the environment. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie adaptive locomotion will contribute not only to biology but also to the field of robotics, by facilitating the design of durable and resilient legged robots capable of adapting to unknown situations, much like animals.

Thus, the goal of this Research Topic is to consolidate topics related to “Biological and Robotic Inter-limb Coordination”, in order to encourage the acceleration of collaborative approaches between the fields of biology and robotics.

This Frontiers Research Topic solicits research articles on recent results in both biology and robotics with respect to experiment, measurement, analysis, design, control, and development towards a fuller understanding of the inter-limb coordination mechanism in animals. This includes:
• Neural and behavioral measurements in animals
• Comparative physiology
• Analytic and synthetic approaches
• Novel methodology using deep neural network algorithms
• Embodied Intelligence (Embodiment)
• Centralized and decentralized control
• Modeling and implementation of neural circuit in animals, e.g., central pattern generators (CPGs)
• Soft robotics
• Bio-hybrid system
• Bio-hacking technology


Keywords: Locomotion, Legged Animals, Embodiment, Bio-Inspired Robotics, Robotics-Inspired Biology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

19 June 2020 Abstract
08 September 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

19 June 2020 Abstract
08 September 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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