Evolution of Shape-Changing and Self-Repairing Control for the ATRON Self-Reconfigurable Robot

David Johan Christensen

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The ATRON self-reconfigurable robot consists of simple interconnected modules. Modules move relative to other modules and as a result change the shape of the robot. The ATRON modules are difficult to control because of complex motion constraints on the modules. Motion constraints are reduced by using meta-modules composed of three modules. A meta-module may emerge from unstructured groups of modules if three modules are connected in the right configuration. The meta-module then moves on a surface of modules and stop at another position. To attract moving meta-modules and thereby to specify the shape-changing task of the robot we use attraction-points. In this work we evolve a distributed artificial neural network controller for the modules. The controller is identical on every module and controls when a meta-module emerges, how it move and when it stops. In simulation we demonstrate how this control strategy allows the ATRON robot to shape-change to support an unstable roof, build a bridge across a gap and to self-repair a broken bone. We conclude that the control strategy is able to shape-change and self-repair the ATRON robot independent on whether it consists of dozens, hundreds or thousands of modules
Keyword: Distributed control,Interconnected systems,Self-repairing control,Complex motion constraints,Robots,Self-adjusting systems,Meta-modules,Distributed artificial neural network control,Interconnected modules,Neurocontrollers,ATRON self-reconfigurable robot,Motion control,Shape-changing control
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2006 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
Publication date2006
ISBN (Print)0780395050
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes
Event2006 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation - Orlando, United States
Duration: 15 May 200619 May 2006


Conference2006 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address

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