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 ")

Multi-Robot Farming On Highly Sloped Land
High Plains, indeed.

Aeolus Robot Brings Jetson's Rosie Closer
Domestic duties, robotically performed.

Sony's New, Cuter Aibo Robot Puppy
Engineered to be adorable.

Pipefish Robot Checks Pipes Cheap
Just like capsule endoscopy, but for bigger pipes. That go underground.

 

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

Fungi-Infused Concrete Repairs Itself
'I noticed that curious mottled knots were forming, indicating where the room had been strained and healed faultily.'

Shiftwear Display Shoes
'He unlaced her shoe and glanced at its readout.'

NASA SEXTANT First With X-Ray Nav In Space
'You need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'

GM Introduces Cruise AV With No Steering Wheel
'How about the steering wheel?' ... 'I do not need one.'

Subsurface Martian Ice Slabs Piece Of Cake For Miners
'One shy little fellow with bloodshot eyes of old-time drillman stood up. 'I'm an ice miner,' he said.'

LG Rollable Version Of Niven's Poster TV
'A television that unrolled like a poster.'

Multi-Robot Farming On Highly Sloped Land
High Plains, indeed.

Aeolus Robot Brings Jetson's Rosie Closer
Domestic duties, robotically performed.

Sony's New, Cuter Aibo Robot Puppy
Engineered to be adorable.

Earth-1 Transformer Gundam Car
Is it a Gundam? Or maybe a Transformer.

Self-Driving Domino's Pizza Car
Yes, but can it negotiate entry at your Burbclave?

I Want Massive Space Freighters!
Ah, the space freighters of old.

When Will The Feds Ban Human Drivers?
'The first laws came out forcing the old machines off the highways...'

Our World Formed In A Bubble?
'The Worldcraft bubble glittered, catching the light...'

Will You Live To See EM Pulse Scattering By Ships Nearing Light Speed?
'...half a million kilometers away, the Stardrive went on.'

Jabil Integrated Textile Heart Monitoring
'Della's first present was an imipolex sweatshirt called a heartshirt…'

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.