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ISBN 9783843913034

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978-3-8439-1303-4, Reihe Robotik und Automation

Rene Matthias
An Integrated Communications-Architecture for Multi-Modular Self-Reconfigurable Robots

218 Seiten, Dissertation Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (2013), Hardcover, B5

Zusammenfassung / Abstract

The emerging field of multi-modular self-reconfigurable robotics deals with robot systems that are able to physically self- or re-assemble and to create robot organisms. This research area is biologically inspired, as mother nature offers several phenomena that truly add to the vision of multi-modular self-reconfigurable robotics. For example red fire ants, they are able to build structures out of their living bodies enabling them to float so that a whole colony may survive a flood disaster or cross a river. What sounds reasonable in nature poses significant challenges for technical systems which are still at their very beginnings. The thesis at hand develops an integrated communications architecture for such robots, diving into one of the most challenging issues multi-modular robotics has to offer. In order to cope with the objective, a novel approach was chosen which relies on technologies that commonly are considered to be too heavy-weighted for their usage in the given context. Due to the integrated nature of the architecture, it deals with the electronics, the software and the user interface at the same time. In contrast to previous work in this field of research, the thesis at hand does not treat these parts separately, but regards them to be different aspects of the very same challenge, being strongly interrelated with each other. By that it was possible to demonstrate the way one should deliberately rethink each design decision from the hardware, the software, and the user interface point of view. As one of the outcomes of this thesis the "HDMR+-Middleware“ prototype successfully incorporates these considerations and provides them to the user accordingly. Finally several experiments were conducted to evaluate the correctness of the assumptions and to show the flexibility gained by this approach. Moreover, the technologies the middleware is based on, which were considered too heavy-weighted previously, were thoroughly investigated for their behaviour and their adequacy in the given context.