Experimental validation of a feed-forward predictor for the spring-loaded inverted pendulum template
Widely accepted utility of simple spring-mass models for running behaviors as descriptive tools, as well as literal control targets, motivates accurate analytical approximations to their dynamics. Despite the availability of a number of such analytical predictors in the literature, their validation has mostly been done in simulation, and it is yet unclear how well they perform when applied to physical platforms. In this paper, we extend on one of the most recent approximations in the literature to ensure its accuracy and applicability to a physical monopedal platform. To this end, we present systematic experiments on a well-instrumented planar monopod robot, first to perform careful identification of system parameters and subsequently to assess predictor performance. Our results show that the approximate solutions to the spring-loaded inverted pendulum dynamics are capable of predicting physical robot position and velocity trajectories with average prediction errors of 2% and 7%, respectively. This predictive performance together with the simple analytic nature of the approximations shows their suitability as a basis for both state estimators and locomotion controllers. © 2004-2012 IEEE.