Roy Featherstone

Short Biography

Dr. Featherstone is a researcher specializing in robot dynamics and related fields. He is currently a professor in the Department of Advanced Robotics at the Italian Institute of Technology, where he works mainly on the Skippy Project which aims to create a highly athletic monopedal hopping and balancing robot. He previously worked at the Australian National University; and before that he was a lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow in the Department of Engineering Science (Robotics Group), Oxford University, and a senior researcher at Philips Research Laboratories, Briarcliff Manor, New York. He obtained his Ph.D. at Edinburgh University (Dept. of Artificial Intelligence) and his first degree at Southampton University. He is one of the world’s leading experts on rigid-body dynamics, the inventor of the Articulated-Body Algorithm and the author of two books on dynamics. He is also a Fellow of the IEEE and a member of its Robotics and Automation Society.

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High Performance Balancing on a Narrow Support


This talk will present recent advances in the physics and control of high-performance balancing that we have made as part of the Skippy project. Our approach has been to treat balancing as a physical process, rather than an exercise in control theory, and to study it from a physical point of view. As a result, we have identified the physical properties that are important for balancing; we can quantify how good a robot is at balancing, and therefore design robots explicitly to be good at balancing; we can extract the relatively simple dynamics of balancing from the potentially complex complete dynamics of the whole robot; and we can design balance controllers that exhibit higher levels of speed, accuracy and robustness than previously reported.