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A new self-reconfigurable robot is presented. The robot is a hybrid chain/lattice design with several novel features. An active mechanical docking mechanism provides inter-module connection, along with optical and electrical interface. The docking mechanisms function additionally as driven wheels. Internal slip rings provide unlimited rotary motion to the wheels, allowing the modules to move independently by driving on flat surfaces, or in assemblies negotiating more complex terrain. Modules in the system are mechanically homogeneous, with three identical docking mechanisms within a module. Each mechanical dock is driven by a high torque actuator to enable movement of large segments within a multi-module structure, as well as low-speed driving. Preliminary experimental results demonstrate locomotion, mechanical docking, and lifting of a single module.
Date of Conference: 3-7 May 2010