Sylvain (Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Versailles, France, M. Eng. degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Poitiers, France) joined IHMC, in April 2013, as a Post Doctoral Researcher and is working with Drs. J. Pratt & P. Neuhaus in the Robotics Lab.
He’s been involved in the DARPA Robotics Challenge and the FastRunner projects.
- DRC Trials was the second phase, held December 20-21 2013, of the DRC. Team IHMC scored 20 out of a 32 possible points related to task completion in real world with the physical humanoid robot Atlas, placing second in a field of 16 teams. Sylvain worked on implementing the walking controller and state estimator on the physical robot Atlas and was the operator controlling the robot for the terrain task. The migration from simulation environment to real world caused several issues that had to be addressed. The objective was to increase the controller robustness to real world imperfections and the creation of a new state estimator. Both the “upgraded” walking controller and state estimator were used for the competition and allowed the full completion the terrain task.
- Virtual Robotics Challenge (VRC) was the first phase, held June 18-20 2013, of the DRC. Team IHMC scored 52 out of a 60 possible points related to task completion in a simulation environment, placing first in a field of 22 teams. Among the three tasks (driving a vehicle, walking over varied terrain, and manipulating a fire hose) Sylvain was involved in software development for the driving task and was one of the operators controlling the virtual humanoid robot Atlas during the competition. More especially, he focused on the vehicle ingress and egress part of the task: he worked on an suitable high-level humanoid controller and scripted the sequence of robot actions, both used in the competition.
- In addition to the humanoid robot Atlas from Boston Dynamics, Sylvain worked on the implementation of the IHMC controller to the humanoid robot Valkyrie, robot designed and built by NASA JSC in collaboration with the University of Texas at Austin. The main challenge was to improve the controller such that it can be used for robots with either hydraulic or electric actuators.