Modular Robots Research Paper by nemo

Modular Robots
A survey paper on the enhancement of robotic technology by the development of modular reconfigurable robots.
# 45158 | 3,814 words | 7 sources | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Sep 17, 2003 in Engineering (Electrical) , Computer and Technology (General) , Engineering (General)

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Conventional robots have always been thought to be humanoid in form or as advanced computerized machines working on the shop floor. This has been so because the tasks given to the robot have been predefined and the terrain predictable and helpful. But in cases where both mission and geography are unknown, the ability to change in shape could be of very great value, since the robots could adapt to constantly changing tasks and systems. The paper shows that modular reconfigurable robots, made by interconnnecting multiple, simple and similar units, can perform such shape shifting. The paper describes how such types of high-utility robots are being developed in many research labs around the world, with one already in the experimental stage at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in California. It is postulated that systems of this kind would be useful for remote autonomous operations, particularly in hostile environments, such as under the sea, at a scene of natural disaster, and on other planets. This paper externalizes the development in design and technology of such modular robots and also highlights their various applications.

Table of Contents:

Development of Reconfigurable Robots
Three Types of Reconfigurable Robots
Programming Perplexities

From the Paper:

"Each module contains a Motorola PowerPC 555 embedded processor with 1 megabyte of external RAM. This is a relatively powerful processor to have on every module and its full processing power has not yet been utilized. The final goal of full autonomy may require the use of these processors and memory. Each module communicates over a local bus within chains of segments using the (controller area network) CANbus standard. The six sided nodes will have switching and routing capability to pass messages from segment chain to segment chain."

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