Recent Developments in Modular Self-reconfigurable Robots


Date Thursday August 23rd 2007
Time 4:00-5:00pm
Venue George E. Pake Auditorium

PARC Forum

Modular Self-Reconfigurable robots have been in development for many years. These are robot systems that are made up of many repeated modules that can be rearranged to form different shapes and perform a variety of tasks.

As these systems increase the number of modules they promise to be

  1. low cost from economies of scale and batch fabrication
  2. robust from redundancy and self-repair abilities
  3. versatile from being able to adopt different shapes to suit the need

While not there yet, this talk will present progress towards these promises. More specifically, this talk will include recent developments in the dynamic control of modular systems with large degrees of freedom, designs for scaling up the number of modules in system, applications for space and the search for life, and self-reassembly after explosion.


Mark Yim joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at U Penn in the fall of 2004 where he is Gabel Family Term Junior Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Associate Professor, MEAM Undergraduate Curriculum Chair and Associate Faculty Director of the Weiss Tech House. Prior to this, he was a Principal Scientist at the Palo Alto Research Center where he established a group developing modular self-reconfigurable robots. His other research interests include biologically inspired mechanism, haptics for virtual reality, and most recently flying robots.

Honors include induction as a World Technology Network Fellow; IEEE Robotics and Automation Distinguished Lecturer, and induction to MIT's Technology Review TR100 in 1999. He has over 30 patents issued (perhaps most prominent are ones related to the Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox joypad vibration control which have recently been ruled over $100,000,000 in litigation and settlements) and over 50 publications.

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