An old adage in the field of robotics says that “the best measure to assess the robustness of a robot system is how far you trust to be when the system is functioning”. This reflects both the fact that one of the most important aspect that distinguishes a good robotic system from a mediocre one, is its robustness to uncertainties and unexpected events, and the fact that measuring this difference is still mostly done with rules of the thumb. Both of these considerations are still very true for legged locomotion system. Important aspects that characterizes a legged robot system are the robustness of its static balance and of its dynamic walking gait.
The DYSTURBANCE project proposes to realize a perturbation system to be used for the systematic characterization of walking robots and locomotion systems. In particular, the system we plan to realize will enable reproducible issuing of both dynamic and static perturbations forces, that would enable the systematic study of gait and balance resilience and robustness. The proposed system draws inspiration from classical Resilience testing machines used in standardized testing of material samples (as the Charpy test rig) so to realize, in the simplest and easily reproducible way, a system capable of exerting a given desired force or impulse perturbation. The system will integrate position, and force sensors, so to be able to fully characterize the disturbance that we are applying to the walking system. Moreover, it will integrate a motorized shaft, so to be able to control the exertion of forces both in the static and dynamic cases. Finally, the system will be implemented in the form of a moveable portal for easy integration with other experimental rigs, as treadmills, sensorized platforms and other system.