Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Ubbo Visser

Second Committee Member

Geoff Sutcliffe

Third Committee Member

Christine Lisetti


Incorporating a dynamic kick engine that is both fast and effective is pivotal to be competitive in one of the world’s biggest AI and robotics initiative: RoboCup. Using the NAO robot as a testbed, we developed a dynamic kick engine that can generate a kick trajectory with an arbitrary direction without prior input or knowledge of the parameters of the kick. The trajectories are generated using cubic splines, sextic polynomials, and cubic Hermite splines, and the trajectories are executed while the robot is dynamically balancing on one foot. When the robot swings the leg for the kick motion, unprecedented forces might be applied on the robot, and to compensate for these forces, we developed a Zero Moment Point (ZMP) based preview controller that minimizes the ZMP error. Although a variety of kick engines have been implemented by others, there are only a few papers on how kick engine parameters have been optimized to give an effective kick or even a kick that minimizes energy consumption and time. Parameters such as kick configuration, limit of the robot, or shape of the polynomial can be optimized. We propose an optimization framework based on the Webots simulator to optimize these parameters. We also integrated a state-of- the-art walk engine from Seekircher and Visser and kick controller from Pena, Masterjohn, and Visser to generate a kick while walking. Experiments of the physical robot show promising results.


Humanoid Robots; Dynamic Kick; Robot Dynamics; Robot Motion Control