Modular Reconfigurable Robotics

Mark Yim
Xerox PARC


Modular, self-reconfigurable robots are those that are made up of a large number of modules, but a small number of module types. As the number of modules increases, these systems show promise of great versatility, robustness and low cost. However, to make this realizable there are many computational and manufacturing issues that must be addressed.

We will show the progress of two modular reconfigurable robot systems; PolyBot and Proteo, and present some of the issues in applying them to a search and rescue task and a shape configuration task respectively. These tasks are rich in interesting problems in motion planning in unstructured environments, distributed computation and control, robust redundant actuation and control, computational geometry, and image understanding/sensor fusion.

About the Speaker

Mark Yim has been a researcher at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) since 1996. Currently, he leads a government funded project building a modular, reconfigurable robot system at PARC. He has recently authored a book chapter on robots for kids. He has published in journals and conferences in the areas of mobile robot planning, distributed robotics, optimal control, MEMS, and haptic devices. He has authored over 20 patents. His work on MEMS and robotics has been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, Discovery Channel, BBC news and MSNBC. He has been nominated as one of the TR100, the top 100 young innovators by Technology Review Magazine. He received his PhD in mechanical engineering from Stanford University in 1994.
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Last modified: Tue Sep 21 18:59:46 PDT 1999