Central Pattern Generator Chips
Iguana Robotics researchers in conjunction with several university labs are developing silicon models of central pattern generators. These chips are capable of learning and adaptation. Possible applications include low power, and size elements for miniature biomorphic robots. The locomotory controller for walking, running, swimming and flying animals is based on a Central Pattern Generator (CPG). Models of CPGs have been proposed and roboticists have adapted these models for the control of robots. These CPGs are modeled as systems of coupled non-linear oscillators.We have mplementated an adaptive CPG model in a compact, custom analog VLSI circuit. These circuits are very small, power efficient and inexpensive to manufacture in volume. We have demonstrated the functionality of the chip by controlling an underactuated, running robotics leg. This circuit also has adaptive properties which allow it to tune its behavior based on sensory feedback. To our knowledge this is the first instance of an adaptive CPG chip. This approach supports the construction of extremely inexpensive, low power and compact controllers for walking, flying and swimming machines.