A Bioinspired Synthetic Nervous System Controller for Pick-and-Place Manipulation

by   Yanjun Li, et al.

The Synthetic Nervous System (SNS) is a biologically inspired neural network (NN). Due to its capability of capturing complex mechanisms underlying neural computation, an SNS model is a candidate for building compact and interpretable NN controllers for robots. Previous work on SNSs has focused on applying the model to the control of legged robots and the design of functional subnetworks (FSNs) to realize dynamical systems. However, the FSN approach has previously relied on the analytical solution of the governing equations, which is difficult for designing more complex NN controllers. Incorporating plasticity into SNSs and using learning algorithms to tune the parameters offers a promising solution for systematic design in this situation. In this paper, we theoretically analyze the computational advantages of SNSs compared with other classical artificial neural networks. We then use learning algorithms to develop compact subnetworks for implementing addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication. We also combine the learning-based methodology with a bioinspired architecture to design an interpretable SNS for the pick-and-place control of a simulated gantry system. Finally, we show that the SNS controller is successfully transferred to a real-world robotic platform without further tuning of the parameters, verifying the effectiveness of our approach.


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