Report Number: CS-TR-95-1536
Institution: Stanford University, Department of Computer Science
Title: Locomotion With A Unit-Modular Reconfigurable Robot
Author: Yim, Mark
Date: January 1995
Abstract: A unit-modular robot is a robot that is composed of modules
that are all identical. Here we study the design and control
of unit-modular dynamically reconfigurable robots. This is
based upon the design and construction of a robot called
Polypod. We further choose statically stable locomotion as
the task domain to evaluate the design and control strategy.
The result is the creation of many unique locomotion modes.
To gain insight into the capabilities of robots like Polypod
we examine locomotion in general by building a functional
taxonomy of locomotion. We show that Polypod is capable of
generating all classes of statically stable locomotion, a
feature unique to Polypod. Next, we propose methods to
evaluate vehicles under different operating conditions such
as different terrain conditions. We then evaluate and compare
each mode of locomotion on Polypod. This study leads to
interesting insights into the general characteristics of the
corresponding classes of locomotion.
Finally, since more modules are expected to increase robot
capability, it is important to examine the limit to the
number of modules that can be put together in a useful form.
We answer this question by investigating the issues of
structural stability, actuator strength, computation and