Limits of Dynamic Stability for Legged Systems in Multi-Contact Scenarios

Imagine the following actions: walking, stair climbing, holding the armrests of a chair while standing up, and leaning on the wall while reaching for an object on the floor. These everyday life activities require the coordination between human body motion and the available contact interactions with the environment in order to maintain balance.

On one hand, we need a better understanding of the human remarkable ability to plan body motion and intended contact interactions to achieve agile and efficient movements. On the other hand, the formulation of a mathematical framework to plan and control such coordinated actions in robotic legged systems remains a challenge to be addressed.

Leveraging Stability Boundaries to Guide Learning of Balance Controllers

We look for a computational framework that combines reinforcement learning techniques and models of balance stability domains to create a universal rule for learning balanced motions in legged systems. The outcome of this framework will be a modular approach to whole-body control, in which legged systems will explore and exploit a memory of task-independent balanced states, while training for task-specific motor goals. 

Conserved Aging Patterns and Across-Species Aging-Driven Decline of Cognitive and Motor Performance

Animal studies on aging mechanisms and associated interventions are often ineffective when translated to clinical trials, in part due to differences in primary outcomes between species, such as measures of physical and cognitive performance.  We are looking for novel and multidisciplinary motor and cognitive performance indexes that can provide clusters of biomarkers that associate with ageing across species.  We hypotesize that some clusters are shared by different model organisms, as well as by humans.  The outcome of this project will include computational tools for a better understanding of the heterogeneity of the aging process at an individual level and the identification of aging patterns and aging profiles across multiple species. 

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