Publications / Report

Self-Reconfigurable Robots

Hensinger, David M.; Johnston, Gabriel J.; Hinman-Sweeney, Elaine H.; Feddema, John T.; Eskridge, Steven E.; Hinman-Sweeney, Elaine H.

A distributed reconfigurable micro-robotic system is a collection of unlimited numbers of distributed small, homogeneous robots designed to autonomously organize and reorganize in order to achieve mission-specified geometric shapes and functions. This project investigated the design, control, and planning issues for self-configuring and self-organizing robots. In the 2D space a system consisting of two robots was prototyped and successfully displayed automatic docking/undocking to operate dependently or independently. Additional modules were constructed to display the usefulness of a self-configuring system in various situations. In 3D a self-reconfiguring robot system of 4 identical modules was built. Each module connects to its neighbors using rotating actuators. An individual component can move in three dimensions on its neighbors. We have also built a self-reconfiguring robot system consisting of 9-module Crystalline Robot. Each module in this robot is actuated by expansion/contraction. The system is fully distributed, has local communication (to neighbors) capabilities and it has global sensing capabilities.