A self-reconfigurable robot is a robot built from potentially many modules which are connected to form the robot. Each module has sensors, actuators, processing power, and means of communicating with connected modules. The robot autonomously changes shape by changing the way these modules are connected. Self-reconfigurable robots have a high degree of robustness, versatility, scale extensibility, and adaptability. This makes these robotic systems interesting to study. Since the late 1980’s, many systems of self-reconfigurable robots have been developed. This report gives a survey of many of these projects, and discusses several interesting features and capabilities of the robotic modules and structures. An overview of each robot system is presented, highlighting the most interesting aspects of the system. Following the survey of the various robot projects, a general discussion of self-reconfigurable robots is given, summarizing the main features and concerns of physical characteristics of self-reconfigurable robots and their modules, mechanisms of locomotion and reconfiguration, capabilities and applications of self-reconfigurable robots, and challenges for self-reconfigurable robot research.
KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2012. , 33 p.