Linbots: Soft Modular Robots Utilising Voice Coils

Ross M. Mckenzie, Mohammed E. Sayed, Markus P. Nemitz, Brian W. Flynn, Adam A. Stokes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Robots performing automated tasks in uncontrolled environments need to adapt to environmental changes. Through building large collectives of robots this robust and adaptive behaviour can emerge from simple individual rules. These collectives can also be reconfigured, allowing for adaption to new tasks. Larger collectives are more robust and more capable, but the size of existing collectives is limited by the cost of individual units. In this paper, we present a soft, modular robot that we have explicitly designed for manufacturability: Linbots. Linbots use multifunctional voice coils to actuate linearly, to produce audio output and to sense touch. When used in collectives, the Linbots can communicate with neighbouring Linbots allowing for isolated behaviour as well as the propagation of information throughout a collective. We demonstrate that these collectives of Linbots can perform complex tasks in a scalable distributed manner, we show transport of objects by collective peristalsis and sorting of objects by a 2D-array of Linbots.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSoft Robotics
Early online date18 Dec 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Dec 2018

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