Robots out on the factory floor pretty much know what's coming.
Constrained as they are by programming and geometry, their world
is just an assembly line. But for robots operating out doors,
away from civilization, both mission and geography are unpredictable.
Here, robots with the ability to change their shape could adapt
to constantly varying terrain.
Metamorphic robots are designed so that they can change their
external shape without human intervention. One general way to
achieve such functionality is to build a robot composed of multiple,
identical unit modules. If the modules are designed so that they
can be assembled into rigid structures, and so that individual
units within such structures can be relocated within and about
the structure, then self-reconfiguration is possible.
claim to have many desirable properties including versatility,
robustness and low cost. Each module has its own computer, a rich
set of sensors, actuators and communication networks. However,
the practical application outside of research has yet to be seen
.One outstanding issue for such systems is the increasing complexity
for effectively programming a large distributed system, with hundreds
or even thousands of nodes in changing configurations. PolyBot
has been developed through as third generation at the Xerox Palo
alto Research Center. Conro robot built at the information sciences
institute at the University of Southern California are examples
for metamorphic robots.
means composed of multiple identical units called modules. The
robot is made up of thousands of modules. The systems addressed
here are automatically reconfiguring, and for this the hardware
systems that tend to be more homogenous than heterogenous. That
is the system may have different types of modules but the ratio
of the number of module types to the number of modules is very
low. Systems with all of these characteristics are called n-modular
where n refers to the number of module types and n is small typically
one or two. (e.g. a system with two types of modules is called
philosophy is to simplify the design and construction of components
while enhancing functionality and versatility through larger numbers
of modules. Thus, the low heterogeneity of the system is a design
leverage point getting more functionality for a given amount of
design .The analog in architecture is the building of a cathedral
from many simple bricks in which bricks are of few types .In nature.
The analogy is complex organisms like mammals, which have billions
of cells, but only hundreds of cell types.
OF N-MODULAR SYSTEMS
stems from the many ways in which modules can be connected, much
like a child's Lego bricks. It can shape itself to a dog , chair
or to a house by reconfiguration. The same set of modules could
connect to form a robot with a few long thin arms and a long reach
or one with many shorter arms that could lift heavy objects. For
a typical system with hundred of modules, there are usually millions
of possible configurations, which can be applied to many diverse
Modular reconfiguration robots with many modules have the ability
to form a large variety of shapes to suit different tasks. Figure
2 shows robot in the form of a loop rolling over a flat terrain.
Figure 3 shows an earthworm type to slither through obstacles..
Finally Figure 4 shows a spider form to stride over bumpy or hilly