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.

Technical Report as a pdf document

Technical Report as a ps document