Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Robo Lego: Modular Robotic Units Designed To Meld Together For Search And Rescue

Date:
December 22, 2000
Source:
University Of Southern California
Summary:
While these devices can't yet turn themselves from tanks to airplanes to submarines, like TVs Transformers, the ISI CONRO (short for "configurable robots") units can autonomously seek and find each other and, when combined, work as a unified system. Soon they may even be creeping through crevices in earthquake debris or braving flames at a fire scene.

While these devices can't yet turn themselves from tanks to airplanes to submarines, like TVs Transformers, the ISI CONRO (short for "configurable robots") units can autonomously seek and find each other and, when combined, work as a unified system. Soon they may even be creeping through crevices in earthquake debris or braving flames at a fire scene. Once inside, they might assemble into devices that can carry cameras, water or medicine to people trapped in the rubble. Or they could even jack up rocks and clear an escape path. Other possible tasks include surveillance work or scouting on battlefields.

Related Articles


Each 3-inch-long CONRO unit consists of a few small electric motors, a computer chip and an "active end" that can move back and forth, and up and down. Special plugs on the active end fit into receptacles on the front of other devices.

The onboard computer chip directs the robot's activities. Each unit's chip can also receive and send instructions to the processors in its sister units using infrared transmitters.

ISI researchers Andres Castao and Wei-Min Shen are currently creating software for the CONRO system, using two separate approaches.

Castano, who designed the units and built many with his own hands, pursues a holistic pattern, in which a single program totally guides assembled robots through their activities.

Shen, pursues an alternative strategy, using software modules called "hormones" by analogy with biological chemical messengers, with each hormone designed to elicit a certain behavior, and action by consolidated CONRO units being accomplished by orchestrating hormones in different orders and permutations.

The CONRO team recently succeeded in getting a snake of six modules to find and link to its own tail, forming a ring capable of standing on its side and rolling forward. In another eight-unit configuration, the CONRO units form an insect-like creature that walks on six legs, moving three at a time.

ISI team leader Peter Will, who directs the ConRo project, notes that creation of truly capable "metamorphing" robots will require many improvements, including better chips that run on less power. The software demands are daunting, too.

"The robots must recognize the conditions that dictate a change in form, must determine the proper new form to assume, and be able to do so quickly and efficiently under confused, real world conditions." says Will. "These are major challenges. Nevertheless, the rewards for successful implementation of this technology make a vigorous effort worthwhile, and we are cheered by the successes we have so far achieved."

The CONRO research is supported by DARPA, the central R&D organization of the U.S. Department of Defense.

###

Note: A video of the "CONRO" units in action is available online at http://www.isi.edu/conro.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Southern California. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Southern California. "Robo Lego: Modular Robotic Units Designed To Meld Together For Search And Rescue." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 December 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001222072313.htm>.
University Of Southern California. (2000, December 22). Robo Lego: Modular Robotic Units Designed To Meld Together For Search And Rescue. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001222072313.htm
University Of Southern California. "Robo Lego: Modular Robotic Units Designed To Meld Together For Search And Rescue." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001222072313.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Sony Hopes To Make Any Glasses 'Smart'

How Sony Hopes To Make Any Glasses 'Smart'

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Sony's glasses module attaches to the temples of various eye- and sunglasses to add a display and wireless connectivity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Los Angeles Police To Receive 7,000 Body Cameras

Los Angeles Police To Receive 7,000 Body Cameras

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the cameras will be distributed starting Jan. 1. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jaguar Unveils 360 Virtual Windshield Making Car Pillars Appear Transparent

Jaguar Unveils 360 Virtual Windshield Making Car Pillars Appear Transparent

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) Jaguar unveils a virtual 360 degree windshield that may be the most futuristic automotive development yet. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) Stanford University wants to unlock the secrets of the player piano. Researchers are restoring and studying self-playing pianos and the music rolls that recorded major composers performing their own work. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins