Special Issue on on whole-body control of contacts and dynamics for humanoid robots

For humanoid robots to act in unstructured natural environments as humans do, contacts and physical interactions are necessary and unavoidable. In recent years, whole-body control techniques have matured to the point where various humanoid robots can robustly interact with their environment. Robots may exploit predictable contacts to aid in goal achievement, as well as learn dynamics of contact to generalize over novel tasks and domains. They may regulate their compliance to cope with unpredictable contacts and ensure safe behaviors. While these achievements are a major milestone for robotics, they still need to be applied to more challenging situations, inspired by natural settings and physical interaction scenarios. There is a strong need for advanced methods that can handle multiple contacts, unforeseen or intentional, with different rigidity properties, and guarantee the robust, autonomous execution of actions (balancing, walking, manipulation) in variable contexts.

This increased interest for whole-body control led Serena Ivaldi, Jan Babic, Michael Mistry and Robin Murphy to organize a special issue of the Autonomous Robots journal on the topic of whole-body control of contacts and dynamics.

The special issue aims at presenting the advances in whole-body control of real robots, focusing on control and learning techniques applied to estimation, control and adaptation of whole-body dynamics movement and contact forces that go beyond basic balancing abilities.

The special issue received support from CODYCO and the IEEE-RAS TC on Whole-Body Control.


Ivaldi, S.; Babic, J.; Mistry, M.; Murphy, R. (2016) Special Issue on on whole-body control of contacts and dynamics for humanoid robots. Autonomous Robots.


The robots in this special issue:

The list of selected papers: 

  • Optimization-based locomotion planning, estimation and control design for the Atlas humanoid robot by Kuindersma et al.
  • Balancing of humanoid robot using contact force/moment control by task-oriented whole-body control framework by Lee et al.
  • Momentum control with hierarchical inverse dynamics on a torque-controlled humanoid by Herzog et al.
  • Whole-body hierarchical motion and force control for humanoid robots by Liu et al.
  • Whole-body impedance control of wheeled mobile manipulators: stability analysis and experiments on the humanoid robot Rollin' Justin by Dietrich et al.
  • Knowledge-enabled parameterization of whole-body control strategies for compliant service robots by Leidner et al. 
  • Model predictive control for fast reaching in clutter by Killpack et al.
  • Multi-contact vertical ladders climbing with a HRP-2 humanoid by Vaillant et al.


Foreword on Autonomous Robots journal


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Survey on Dynamics Simulation

On September 2013, we created a survey about the use of dynamic simulation tools in robotics. The survey was motivated by the growing number of tools for dynamics simulation, and our need to figure out which is the best tool for our researches:
which is the best tool for simulating dynamics and contacts?
The survey was advertised on the main robotics mailing lists (robotics-worldwide, euron-dist, ..). We collected 119 answers in one month.

You can see here the online survey about dynamics simulation tools (link)

You can read the results of the survey together with a review of the main simulators for robot dynamics in this paper:

Ivaldi, S.; Peters, J.; Padois, V.; Nori, F. (2014). Tools for simulating humanoid robot dynamics: a survey based on user feedbackProceedings of the International Conference on Humanoid Robots (HUMANOIDS).  (pdf


Serena Ivaldi, Vincent Padois, Francesco Nori. Tools for dynamics simulation of robots: a survey based on user feedback. arXiv:1402.7050 [cs.RO]

Pictures VVV13

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