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We present extensions to ChainQueen, an open source, fully differentiable material point method simulator for soft robotics. Previous work established ChainQueen as a powerful tool for inference, control, and co-design for soft robotics. We detail enhancements to ChainQueen, allowing for more efficient simulation and optimization and expressive co-optimization over material properties and geometric parameters. We package our simulator extensions in an easy-to-use, modular application programming interface (API) with predefined observation models, controllers, actuators, optimizers, and geometric processing tools, making it simple to prototype complex experiments in 50 lines or fewer. We demonstrate the power of our simulator extensions in over nine simulated experiments.
This paper presents decentralized algorithms for coverage with mobile robots on a graph. Coverage is an important capability of multi-robot systems engaged in a number of different applications, including placement for environmental modeling, deployment for maximal quality surveillance, and even coordinated construction. We use distributed vertex substitution for locational optimization and equal mass partitioning, and the controllers minimize the corresponding cost functions. We prove that the proposed controller with two-hop communication guarantees convergence to the locally optimal configuration. We evaluate the algorithms in simulations and also using four mobile robots.
This paper considers planning and control algorithms that enable a programmable sheet to realize different shapes by autonomous folding. Prior work on self-reconfiguring machines has considered modular systems in which independent units coordinate with their neighbors to realize a desired shape. A key limitation in these prior systems is the typically many operations to make and break connections with neighbors, which lead to brittle performance. We seek to mitigate these difficulties through the unique concept of self-folding origami with a universal fixed set of hinges. This approach exploits a single sheet composed of interconnected triangular sections. The sheet is able to fold into a set of predetermined shapes using embedded actuation.
We describe the planning algorithms underlying these self-folding sheets, forming a new family of reconfigurable robots that fold themselves into origami by actuating edges to fold by desired angles at desired times. Given a flat sheet, the set of hinges, and a desired folded state for the sheet, the algorithms (1) plan a continuous folding motion into the desired state, (2) discretize this motion into a practicable sequence of phases, (3) overlay these patterns and factor the steps into a minimum set of groups, and (4) automatically plan the location of actuators and threads on the sheet for implementing the shape-formation control.
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