Modular reconfigurable robotic systems

Supervisor: Dr R Gross

Project Description

Self-assembly processes are responsible for the generation of order in nature. They involve components at different scales, such as molecules, cells, organisms, and weather systems. Scientists across many disciplines believe that the study of physical models of self-assembly can help in understanding nature and in advancing technology.

This project addresses the design, implementation and study of a novel robot that is composed of centimetre-sized robotic units. The units could be self-propelled or externally propelled (e.g., see [3,4,5]). The units can self-assemble, in other words, physically bind with each other. They can disconnect at will. By self-assembly, they can autonomously organise into modular entities the properties of which can change on the fly (e.g., shape, strength, function). In the long run, this could lead to a new generation of adaptive hardware (transformable matter [2], devices, robots/vehicles, buildings etc). Tens to hundreds of these units are to be produced and their adaptation capabilities are to be demonstrated.

The project will be carried out in the Natural Robotics Lab [1].

[1] http://naturalrobotics.group.shef.ac.uk
[2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcaqzOUv2Ao
[3] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iHZKMDvdNI
[4] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJOubyiITsE&feature=related
[5] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIn-sMq8-Ls

Prospective applicants should have a degree in a relevant subject (electrical engineering, mechatronics, etc) and possibly be experienced in the design of printed circuit boards.

Contact Details

Dr R Gross

  • Tel: +44 (0) 114 222 5610

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