A modular robotic system using magnetic force effectors

Brian T. Kirby, Burak Aksak, Jason D. Campbell, James F. Hoburg, Todd C. Mowry, Padmanabhan Pillai, Seth Copen Goldstein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

51 Scopus citations

Abstract

One of the primary impediments to building ensembles of modular robots is the complexity and number of mechanical mechanisms used to construct the individual modules. As part of the Claytronics project-which aims to build very large ensembles of modular robots-we investigate how to simplify each module by eliminating moving parts and reducing the number of mechanical mechanisms on each robot by using force-at-a-distance actuators. Additionally, we are also investigating the feasibility of using these unary actuators to improve docking performance, implement intermodule adhesion, power transfer, communication, and sensing. In this paper we describe our most recent results in the magnetic domain, including our first design sufficiently robust to operate reliably in groups greater than two modules. Our work should be seen as an extension of systems such as Fracta [9], and a contrasting line of inquiry to several other researchers' prior efforts that have used magnetic latching to attach modules to one another but relied upon a powered hinge [10] or telescoping mechanism [12] within each module to facilitate self-reconfiguration.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2007 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2007
Pages2787-2793
Number of pages7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2007
Event2007 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2007 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Oct 29 2007Nov 2 2007

Publication series

NameIEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems

Conference

Conference2007 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2007
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA
Period10/29/0711/2/07

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