Sambot: A self-assembly modular robot system

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The design and structure of a self-assembly modular robot (Sambot) are presented in this paper. Each module has its own autonomous mobility and can connect with other modules to form robotic structures with different manipulation abilities. Sambot has a versatile, robust, and flexible structure. The computing platform provided for each module is distributed and consists of a number of interlinked microcontrollers. The interaction and connectivity between different modules is achieved through infrared sensors and Zigbee wireless communication in discrete state and control area network bus communication in robotic configuration state. A new mechanical design is put forth to realize the autonomous motion and docking of Sambots. It is a challenge to integrate actuators, sensors, microprocessors, power units, and communication elements into a highly compact and flexible module with the overall size of 80 mm 80 mm 102 mm. The work describes represents a mature development in the area of self-assembly distributed robotics. © 2010 IEEE.

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IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics