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Chaos is a central feature of human locomotion and has been suggested to be a window to the control mechanisms of locomotion. In this investigation, we explored how the principles of chaos can be used to control locomotion with a passive dynamic bipedal walking model that has a chaotic gait pattern. Our control scheme was based on the scientific evidence that slight perturbations to the unstable manifolds of points in a chaotic system will promote the transition to new stable behaviors embedded in the rich chaotic attractor. Here we demonstrate that hip joint actuations during the swing phase can provide such perturbations for the control of bifurcations and chaos in a locomotive pattern. Our simulations indicated that systematic alterations of the hip joint actuations resulted in rapid transitions to any stable locomotive pattern available in the chaotic locomotive attractor. Based on these insights, we further explored the benefits of having a chaotic gait with a biologically inspired artificial neural network (ANN) that employed this chaotic control scheme. Remarkably, the ANN was quite robust and capable of selecting a hip joint actuation that rapidly transitioned the passive dynamic bipedal model to a stable gait embedded in the chaotic attractor. Additionally, the ANN was capable of using hip joint actuations to accommodate unstable environments and to overcome unforeseen perturbations. Our simulations provide insight on the advantage of having a chaotic locomotive system and provide evidence as to how chaos can be used as an advantageous control scheme for the nervous system.


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Biological Cybernetics





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