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 ")

Robot Buddhist Priest Chants, Drums
'He crossed the waiting room to the Padre booth...' - Philip K. Dick, 1969.

X2-VelociRoACH Cooperates To Launch Tiny Drones
Little robots cooperating can do big tasks. Eventually.

An 'Ethical Black Box' For Robots?
Explored by science fiction authors.

Kino Project Roaming Personal Fashion Robots
'Most of the crew have the tiny imp ride on their shoulder...' - Robert Forward, 1985.

 

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

Biggest HiSeas 'Mars Mission' Problem? No Internet
I think sf writers have this covered!

Clever Electric Truck Generates More Power Than It Uses
Better than a fictional electrotruck!

Eden-ISS, Greenhouse In Antarctica
'With this kind of light we could get the gardens going again."

Make Space Tools On The Spot (Like Moties)
'A moment ago it was squeezing silver toothpaste in a ribbon...'

Will Robots Be Moral If We Raise Them Like Our Children?
'The birth of Machine, my robot child...'

Foldable Galaxy Phones, I Swear They're Coming (Maybe)
How hard can it be?

Bacteria Behave Differently In Space
'The Republic struggled to control its Sours...'

Brain Connected To Internet - ‘Brainternet'
Fascinating!

Artificial Spider Silk
You can also use it to make a roof - on an asteroid.

MIT Tunes Ions For Frictionless Surface - Superlubricity!
'My telelubricator here neutralizes the interatomic bonds the surface of any solid...'

Seiko Astron Always Knows Your Time Zone
'Harrington glanced at his wrist watch - a bulky affair - and whistled.'

Robot Buddhist Priest Chants, Drums
'He crossed the waiting room to the Padre booth...'

Koniku Kore, Mouse Brain-Based Chip, Detects Explosives
'As a matter of fact, this mouse is going to keep on thinking forever.'

CNH Industrial Autonomous Tractor Concept Video
'...the tiny red glints of self-guided tractors.'

The Neuroon Open Sleep Tracker For Lucid Dreaming
'Leads trail away from insertion points on her face and wrist... to a lucid dreamer on the bedside shelf.'

Siri Now Smoother, Perkier (Thanks, Deep Learning!)
'Good morning, Dr. Chandra. This is Hal.'

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.