Robotics: Science and Systems I

Three Dimensional Stochastic Reconfiguration of Modular Robots

Paul White, Victor Zykov, Josh Bongard, Hod Lipson

Abstract: Here we introduce one simulated and two physical three-dimensional stochastic modular robot systems, all capable of self-assembly and self-reconfiguration. We assume that individual units can only draw power when attached to the growing structure, and have no means of actuation. Instead they are subject to random motion induced by the surrounding medium when unattached. We present a simulation environment with a flexible scripting language that allows for parallel and serial selfassembly and self-reconfiguration processes. We explore factors that govern the rate of assembly and reconfiguration, and show that self-reconfiguration can be exploited to accelerate the assembly of a particular shape, as compared with static self-assembly. We then demonstrate the ability of two different physical three-dimensional stochastic modular robot systems to self-reconfigure in a fluid. The second physical implementation is only composed of technologies that could be scaled down to achieve stochastic self-assembly and self-reconfiguration at the microscale.



    AUTHOR    = {Paul White and Victor Zykov and Josh Bongard 
                 and Hod Lipson},
    TITLE     = {Three Dimensional Stochastic Reconfiguration
                 of Modular Robots},
    BOOKTITLE = {Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems},
    YEAR      = {2005},
    ADDRESS   = {Cambridge, USA},
    MONTH     = {June},
    DOI       = {10.15607/RSS.2005.I.022}