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Robust and reversible execution of self-reconfiguration sequences

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 January 2011

Ulrik Schultz*
Affiliation:
Modular Robotics Lab, Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute, Faculty of Engineering, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark
Mirko Bordignon
Affiliation:
Modular Robotics Lab, Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute, Faculty of Engineering, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark
Kasper Stoy
Affiliation:
Modular Robotics Lab, Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute, Faculty of Engineering, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark
*
*Corresponding author. E-mail: ups@mmmi.sdu.dk

Summary

Modular, self-reconfigurable robots are robotic systems that can change their own shape by autonomously rearranging the physical modules from which they are built. In this work, we are interested in how to distributedly execute a specified self-reconfiguration sequence. The sequence is specified using a simple and centralized scripting language, which either could be the outcome of a planner or be hand-coded. The distributed controller generated from this language allows for parallel self-reconfiguration steps and is highly robust to communication errors and loss of local state due to software failures. Furthermore, the self-reconfiguration sequence can automatically be reversed, if desired. We verify our approach and demonstrate its robustness in experiments using physical and the simulated ATRON modules, as well as simulated M-TRAN modules. Overall, the contribution of this work is the combination of the tractability of a centralized scripting language with the robustness and parallelism of distributed controllers in modular robots.

Type
Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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Footnotes

This work was supported by the Danish Council for Independent Research.

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