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.

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 September 15, 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 September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) — New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — U.S. firms worry they’re falling behind in the marketplace as the FAA considers how to regulate commercial drones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — Winners of a contest for smart gun design are asking not to be named after others in the industry received threats for marketing similar products. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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