A method for communication and control among self-reconfigurable autonomous systems
Metamorphic robots with shape-changing capabilities provide a powerful and flexible approach to complex tasks in unstructured and dynamic environments. Such robots can autonomously and intelligently reconfigure their shape and size to accomplish difficult missions, and they are highly desirable for tasks such as fire fighting, search/rescue after earthquake, and battlefield reconnaissance. Due to their dynamic topology and decentralized configuration, however, metamorphic robots demand control mechanisms that go beyond those used by conventional robots and software engineering. This presentation describes a novel approach called "hormone-based control" that is inspired by the biological concept of hormones that support communication and control for billions of cells in complex biological system. We will demonstrate the utilities of this approach for controlling locomotion and reconfigurations in CONRO metamorphic robots, and illustrates its great potential for distributed, scalable, robust, and adaptive software systems in the future.
Funding Sources: DARPA and AFOSR.