Self-reconfiguring modular robot

Self-reconfigurable modular robots are autonomous kinematic machines with variable morphology.

Beyond conventional actuation, sensing and control typically found in fixed-morphology robots, self-reconfiguring robots are also able to deliberately change their own shape by rearranging the connectivity of their parts, in order to adapt to new circumstances, perform new tasks, or recover from damage.

For example, a robot made of such components could assume a worm-like shape to move through a narrow pipe, reassemble into something with spider-like legs to cross uneven terrain, then form a third arbitrary object (like a ball or wheel that can spin itself) to move quickly over a fairly flat terrain; it can also be used for making “fixed” objects, such as walls, shelters, or buildings.

In some cases this involves each module having 2 or more connectors for connecting several together. They can contain electronics, sensors, computer processors, memory and power supplies; they can also contain actuators that are used for manipulating their location in the environment and in relation with each other.

©Wikipedia

A feature found in some cases is the ability of the modules to automatically connect and disconnect themselves to and from each other, and to form into many objects or perform many tasks moving or manipulating the environment.

By saying “self-reconfiguring” or “self-reconfigurable” it means that the mechanism or device is capable of utilizing its own system of control such as with actuators or stochastic means to change its overall structural shape.

Having the quality of being “modular” in “self-reconfiguring modular robotics” is to say that the same module or set of modules can be added to or removed from the system, as opposed to being generically “modularized” in the broader sense.

The underlying intent is to have an indefinite number of identical modules, or a finite and relatively small set of identical modules, in a mesh or matrix structure of self-reconfigurable modules.

©ForceToKnow

Self-reconfiguration is different from the concept of self-replication, which is not a quality that a self-reconfigurable module or collection of modules needs to possess.

A matrix of modules does not need to be able to increase the quantity of modules in its matrix to be considered self-reconfigurable.

It is sufficient for self-reconfigurable modules to be produced at a conventional factory, where dedicated machines stamp or mold components that are then assembled into a module, and added to an existing matrix in order to supplement it to increase the quantity or to replace worn out modules.

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