Journal article

Roombots: A Hardware Perspective on 3D Self-Reconfiguration and Locomotion with a Homogeneous Modular Robot

In this work we provide hands-on experience on designing and testing a self-reconfiguring modular robotic system, Roombots (RB), to be used among others for adaptive furniture. In the long term, we envision that RB can be used to create sets of furniture, like stools, chairs and tables that can move in their environment and that change shape and functionality during the day. In this article, we present the first results towards that long term vision. We demonstrate locomotion and reconfiguration of single and metamodule RB over 3D surfaces, in a structured environment equipped with embedded connection ports. RB assemblies can move around in non-structured environments, by using rotational or wheel-like locomotion. We show a proof of concept for transferring a Roombots metamodule back into the structured grid, by aligning it in an entrapment mechanism. Finally, we analyze remaining challenges to master the full Roombots scenario, and discuss the impact on future Roombots hardware.


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