CkBot Modular Robot Self-Assembles, Picks Gait

CkBot is a reconfigurable modular robot that is able to reassemble itself after being kicked apart - the Self-Assembly After Explosion problem. Mark Yim, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania Modular Robotics Lab (ModLab), describes the ideas behind CkBot.

"Things fall apart, things break all the time. One of the challenges is, can you have a system that puts itself back together again after its been exploded into lots of pieces?

Each of the modules has magnets and computers in them; each module is a little robot by itself. When they come together, they start to form larger robots that talk to each other via an infrared port.

One of the big issues is, how do you do the coordination? How do a bunch of computers work together to do a single thing so they work together and not fight each other? How can they coordinate their movements so they can do something together a larger unit, like walking?

Take a look at this remarkable video; CkBot is kicked apart by a ruthless human; can the parts come back together and walk as one?


(CkBot cluster reconfigures video)

CkBot can change its manner of locomotion by reconfiguring itself. In the following video, CkBot switches from being a rolling robot to a snake-like robot, to get under an obstacle.


(CkBot cluster changes gait, from rolling to snake-like)

An early science-fictional reference to the idea of a self-assembling robot can be found in The Witches of Karres, a 1966 novel by James Schmitz.

The Sheem Robots were modeled after living animals of various worlds, and the Spider is considered to have been the most perfect of them all. This is the last specimen still in existence. You asked whether I had assembled it recently... Yes, I have. It's a most simple process...

The captain swung the gun up, pointed it at Yango's chest.

"What are you hiding?" he asked.

"Why, the activating mechanism," Yango frowned puzzledly. "I understood you wished to see it assembled. You see, the Sheen Robots assemble themselves when the signal to to it is registered by them."

For different views on this idea, see SuperBot - NASA's modular robot and SYMBRION - Symbiotic Evolutionary Robot Organisms.

Take a look at more CkBot videos, including slinky-gait. Read more about CkBot at the Penn State ModLab.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/2/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.' - Ray Bradbury, 1950.

SINTEF Robot Cleans Solar Panels
'The window cleaners, with large padded feet...' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1972.

How Rude! DARPA Wants Robots To Behave More Like Threepio
'Do I know protocol? Why, it's my primary function.' - George Lucas, 1976.

Buddy Companion Robot Your Bulbous Friend
'Nanny was built in the shape of a sphere, a large metal sphere, flattened on the bottom...' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Desktopography Makes Virtual Desktops Real
'Ender doodled on his desk, drawing contour maps of mountainous islands and then telling his desk to display them in three dimensions...'

LaWS Laser Can Take Out Rogue Drones
Looks like a weapon for the Runaway squad!

Moon Express Lunar Robot Mining: Shine On, Harvest Moon
'The bulldozer moved through the lunar strip mine... '

Liquid Body Armor For TALOS Exoskeleton
'... instantly became rigid all over when something struck it...'

Hyperloop One Video Shows It Works!
'Complete evacuation of the interior of the tubes [and] a wave that provides the new propulsive energy for the cars...'

Chairless Chair Exoskeleton By Sapetti
'Earth's scientists... devised rigid metallic clothing...'

Publishing Technologies In Science Fiction
Well, this should be enough references to start...

Russia Working On Military Exoskeletons
'Вы похожи на большую стальную гориллу...'

3D Printed Bionic Chinese Skin
Your skin is ready!

Flexup Tire Design Good For Tumblebugs
'Each spoke telescopes into five sections.'

3D Printed Graphene Aerogel - So Light!
'... light as cork and stronger than steel...'

Asteroid Deflection With DART
'This obelisk is one huge deflector mechanism...'

Translate One2One From IBM's Watson Your Communication Solution
'It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix...'

News Now Philip K. Dick's Bailiwick
'A vast complex electronic organism... responsible to no one...'

Autonomous BADGER Robot Drilling Machine
'The compacted matter... makes a better tunnel lining than concrete, don't you think?'

TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding
'Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.