Self-organizing Robots

Tuesday, May 9, 2006 - 7:00pm
32-G449 (Kiva)
Daniela Rus, MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab

Joint meeting with IEEE Computer and Robotics Societies

We wish to create versatile robots by using self-reconfiguration: hundreds of small modules autonomously organize and reorganize as geometric structures to best fit the terrain on which the robot has to move, the shape of the object the robot has to manipulate, or the sensing needs for the given task. Self-reconfiguration allows large collections of small robots to actively organize as the most optimal geometric structure to perform useful coordinated work. A self-reconfiguring robot consists of a set of identical modules that can dynamically and autonomously reconfigure in a variety of shapes, to best fit the terrain, environment, and task. Self-reconfiguration leads to versatile robots that can support multiple modalities of locomotion and manipulation. Self-reconfiguring robots constitute large scale distributed systems. Because the modules change their location continuously they also constitute ad-hoc networks. This talk will discuss the challenges of creating self-reconfiguring robots, ranging from designing hardware capable of self-reconfiguration to developing distributed controllers and planners for such systems that are scalable, adaptive, and support real-time behavior.

Lecturer Biography: 

Daniela Rus is an associate professor in the EECS Department at MIT. She is the co-director of the CSAIL Center for Robotics. Previously, she was a professor in the computer science department at Dartmouth College. She holds a PhD degree in computer science form Cornell University. Her research interests include distributed robotics, mobile computing, and self-organization. She was the recipient of an NSF Career award. She is a Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow and a class of 2002 MacArthur Fellow.