ICRA 2012 Paper Abstract


Paper WeD03.1

Gilpin, Kyle (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Rus, Daniela (MIT)

A Distributed Algorithm for 2D Shape Duplication with Smart Pebble Robots

Scheduled for presentation during the Regular Session "Modular Robots & Multi-Agent Systems" (WeD03), Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 16:30−16:45, Meeting Room 3 (Mak'to)

2012 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May 14-18, 2012, RiverCentre, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA

This information is tentative and subject to change. Compiled on June 20, 2018

Keywords Cellular and Modular Robots, Distributed Robot Systems


We present our digital fabrication technique for manufacturing active objects from a collection of smart particles. Given a passive model of the object to be formed, we envision submerging this original in a vat of smart particles, executing the new shape duplication algorithm described in this paper, and then brushing aside any extra modules to reveal both the original object and an exact copy, side-by-side. Extensions to the duplication algorithm can be used to create a magnified version of the original or multiple copies of the model object. Our novel duplication algorithm uses a distributed approach to identify the geometric specification of the object being duplicated and then forms the duplicate from spare modules in the vicinity of the original.

This paper details the duplication algorithm and the features that make it robust to (1) an imperfect packing of the modules around the original object; (2) missing communication links between neighboring modules; and (3) missing modules in the vicinity of the duplicate object(s). We show that the algorithm requires O(1) storage space per module and that the algorithm exchanges O(n) messages per module. Finally, we present experimental results from 60 hardware trials and over 100 simulations. These experiments demonstrate the algorithm working correctly and reliably despite realistic connection and communication failures.



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