Estimation of Contact Forces and Floating Base Kinematics of a Humanoid Robot Using Only Inertial Measurement Units


A humanoid robot is underactuated and only relies on contacts with environment to move in the space. The ability to measure contact forces and torques enables then to predict the robot dynamics including balance. In classical cases, a humanoid robot is considered as a multi-body system with rigid limbs and joints and interactions with the environment are modeled as stiff contacts. Forces and torques at contacts are generally estimated with sensors which are expensive and sensitive to calibration errors. However, a robot is not perfectly rigid and contacts may have flexibilities. Therefore, external forces create geometric deformations of the body or its environment. These deformations may modify the robot dynamics and produce unwanted and unbalanced motions. Nonetheless, if we have a model of contact stiffness and are able to reconstruct reliably the geometric deformation, we can reconstruct forces and torques at contact. This study aims at estimating contact forces and torques and to observe the body kinematics of the robot with only an Inertial Measurements Unit (IMU). We show that we are able to reconstruct efficiently the position of the Center of Pressure (CoP) of the robot with only the IMU and proprioceptive data from the robot.

IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems ( IROS ) 2015, Oct 2015, Hamburg, Germany. 2015