The Final Report
Enveloping Complex Obstacles with Hexagonal Metamorphic Robots
Abstract - The problem addressed is the distributed reconfiguration of a metamorphic robotic system composed of any number of identical hexagonal modules. A metamorphic robotic system is a collection of independently controlled, smaller robots that can move around adjacent robots to change the shape of the overall system. The shape-changing ability of these systems makes them more versatile than conventional mobile robots. Because the modules are
homogeneous, the systems are also capable of self-repair.
As part of our research, we developed deterministic, distributed reconfiguration algorithms for planning the reconfiguration when a single obstacle with an irregular surface (e.g., containing pockets) is embedded in the
goal. Current reconfiguration algorithms find a bisecting
path of goal cells spanning the goal, called the substrate path. Modules
fill in this substrate path and then move along the path
to fill in the remainder of the goal. We present algorithms
to 1) determine if an obstacle fulfills a simple admissibility
requirement based on contact patterns, 2) include an
admissible obstacle in a substrate path, and 3) determine
the order to fill the pocket cells.
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