Self Healing at Polymorphic Robotics Lab
In nature, there is many examples of multi-cellular organisms that can self heal from damage, such as healing skin and tissues, to re-growing tails, legs and organs. The methods for these types of self healing is difficult to do in an artificial system such as a reconfigurable robot, because currently no artificial system can grow new parts. Luckily, nature also can accomplish self healing without growing new parts. This process, called morphallaxis, allows the tissue of the damaged organism to reorganize, reforming to the original shape. The result of morphallaxis is usually a smaller but complete individual, derived entirely from the tissues of part of the original animal.
One of the most remarkable examples of a creature using morphallaxis in nature is a type of invertebrate freshwater animal called a hydra. Even if a hydra is minced and the pieces scrambled, the fragments grow together and reorganize themselves back into a hydra. There is only a single place in the hydra where new cells can grow. If that part is removed, a hydra will continue to survive using morphallaxis, but the whole body will shrink due to the death of existing cells in the body. How this dramatic self-healing process takes place is still largely a mystery.
The objective of our self healing project is to deepen our understating in self-healing and construct a physical system that can demonstrate morphallaxis. To achieve those objectives, we have decided to first look at self-healing at the simplest level, using a simple simulation environment to first learn methods of control to achieve results that appear similar to morphallaxis seen in nature. Once these control methods produce satisfactory results, they will be applied to a more constrained simulation that better represents the available movements of available physical systems, such as reconfigurable robots like CONRO.
self healing in nature
artificial self healing