Real-time distributed configuration discovery of modular self-reconfigurable robots

Jose Baca, Bradley Woosley, Prithviraj DasGupta, Carl Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We consider the problem of discovering and representing the topology of a modular self-reconfigurable robot (MSR) in which modules do not have a priori information about other modules that belong to the same configuration. We propose a solution that combines two main features of modules - their geometric shape and their inter-connection with other modules, represented as a connectivity graph. We describe a distributed algorithm that can be used by each module to construct the connectivity graph by discovering other modules in four steps - sharing IDs, creating a local configuration structure (LCS) or list of local neighbors, sharing a matrix with LCSs to adjacent modules, and building an adjacency matrix by combining LCSs. Data is exchanged between modules using infra-red (IR) communication. Our proposed technique can operate within limited computational resources available on a module and is robust to module failures. We have tested and demonstrated the successful operation of our proposed technique on the ModRED (Modular Robot for Exploration and Discovery) platform and shown that modules are able to discover both linear and branched configurations using our algorithm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7139449
Pages (from-to)1919-1924
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
Issue numberJune
StatePublished - Jun 29 2015
Event2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2015 - Seattle, United States
Duration: May 26 2015May 30 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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