ModLab UPenn the modular robotics laboratory at the university of pennsylvania

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ICRA Robotic Planetary Contingency 2008
ICRA Robotic Planetary Contingency 2008

ICRA Robotic Planetary Contingency 2008 featured four teams competing in multiple, time sensitive, emergency scenarios with modular robotic solutions.

Structure synthesis on-the-fly
Structure synthesis on-the-fly

Hard foam can be used to synthesise a body on-the-fly, allowing us to spray a body for this quadruped. Each of the limbs comprises three CKBot modules, in a configuration similar to that used in the self-assembly after explosion project.

Search and Rescue
Search and Rescue

Can small man-portable robots aid the transport of incapacitated victims? This work received the Best Paper Award at the 2009 IEEE International Workshop on Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics.

XBot
XBot

The XBot system is a lattice style modular self-reconfigurable robot that uses external actuation to deterministically reconfigure XBot modules. Using the principle of external actuation facilitates module miniaturization as modules do not require motors or servos to reconfigure.

RATChET
RATChET

Modules in the Right Angle Tetrahedron Chain Externally Actuated Testbed (RATChET) system can be programmed to form arbitrary shapes. Using an external manipulator to fold the chain under the force of gravity simplifies the module design since they do not require a motor at each joint.

Dysc
Dysc

The Dysc is a new MAV with counter-rotating rotors that uses gyroscopic moments for attitude control. The two rotors are fixed pitch, eliminating the need for complex mechanisms like the swashplate, leading to lower cost and easier maintenance when compared to traditional helicopter configurations. In addition, the Dysc has the potential for higher agility than quadrotors.

Module Brake
Module Brake

We have designed a joint-locking mechanism for a new chain-style modular reconfigurable robot. This mechanism will enable the robot to perform a wide array of tasks such as dynamic motion and bio-inspired locomotion while consuming less power.

Factory Floor
Factory Floor

The factory floor is an experimental robotic system for the construction of passive robotically-reconfigurable truss structures. The macroscopic goal of this work is to embed autonomous reconfigurability into human-built systems.

CKbot
CKbot

The CKbot (Connector Kinetic roBot) is a chain style modular robot. It is designed to be fast and inexpensive while small enough to fit inside a 3 inch tube. It is manually reconfigurable into any shape while also allowing attachments such as wheels, grippers, IR proximity sensors and camera modules.

Self re-Assembly after Explosion
Self re-Assembly after Explosion

A car bumper is designed to crumple upon impact and protect the driver. A ski boot will detach from the ski to prevent injury to the ankle. Likewise a CKbot assembly falls apart when it is kicked, however CKbot can put itself back together again.

Dynamic Locomotion of CKBot
Dynamic Locomotion of CKBot

CKBot is designed to be fast allowing it to achieve dynamic locomotion. Given that CKBot is reconfigurable gives us the unique ability to research different types of dynamic locomotions in different morphologies all with the same hardware.

Quick Change End Effector
Quick Change End Effector

This prototype allows PR2 to change end-effectors on his own. He could trade in his hand for a different gripper, a screwdriver, or even a sensor such as a camera. The quick release mechanism makes it easy for him to attach and detach and it also features electrical connections to transfer power and communication.

Distributed Communication Fault Tolerance
Distributed Communication Fault Tolerance

An advantageous feature of modular robots is the applicability to system fault tolerance. With redundant units and parallel processing facilities, modular robots have the capability or potential to account for certain types of failures within its system. This research presents work on communication fault tolerance with CKBot.

Configuration Recognition
Configuration Recognition

The advantage of reconfiguration is central to modular robotic systems. With this benefit, however, comes a complex and interesting challenge: how does a modular robot recognize which shapes are useful or familiar? The ability for a modular robot to determine which configurations are needed for various tasks is a fundamental requirement for increased autonomy.