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Spiking neural state machine for gait frequency entrainment in a flexible modular robot.


We propose a modular architecture for neuromorphic closed-loop control based on bistable relaxation oscillator modules consisting of three spiking neurons each. Like its biological prototypes, this basic component is robust to parameter variation but can be modulated by external inputs. By combining these modules, we can construct a neural state machine capable of generating the cyclic or repetitive behaviors necessary for legged locomotion. A concrete case study for the approach is provided by a modular robot constructed from flexible plastic volumetric pixels, in which we produce a forward crawling gait entrained to the natural frequency of the robot by a minimal system of twelve neurons organized into four modules.

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