Volume 27 Issue 3-4 - Publication Date: 1 March 2008
Miche: Modular Shape Formation by Self-Disassembly
Kyle Gilpin, Keith Kotay, Daniela Rus and Iuliu Vasilescu MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab 32 Vassar St Room 32–376 Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
We describe the design, implementation and programming of a set of robots that, starting from an amorphous arrangement, can be assembled into arbitrary shapes and then commanded to self-disassemble in an organized manner to obtain a goal shape. We present custom hardware, distributed algorithms and experimental results from hundreds of trails which show the system successfully forming complex 3D shapes. Each of the 28 modules in the system is implemented as a 1.8-inch autonomous cube-shaped robot able to connect to and communicate with its immediate neighbors. Embedded microprocessors control each module’s magnetic connection mechanisms and infrared communication interfaces.When assembled into a structure, the modules form a system that can be virtually sculpted using a computer interface and a distributed process. The group of modules collectively decides which elements are a part of the final shape and which are not using algorithms that minimize information transmission and storage. Finally, the modules not in the structure disengage their magnetic couplings and fall away under the influence of an external force: in this case, gravity.
Multimedia Key
= Video = Data = Code = Image
Example 1: Self-disassembly of a humanoid robot showing the GUI operating in parallel with the actual system. (29.6 MB) mp4
Example 2: Self-disassembly of a suspended dog robot. (24.8 MB) mp4
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