CONCURRENT METAMORPHOSIS OF HEXAGONAL ROBOT CHAINS INTO SIMPLE CONNECTED CONFIGURATIONS
Abstract: The problem addressed is the distributed reconfiguration of a metamorphic robotic system composed of an arbitrary number of two dimensional hexagonal robots (modules) from specific initial to specific goal configurations. The initial configuration considered is a straight chain of robotic modules, while the goal configurations considered satisfy a more general “admissibility” condition. A centralized algorithm is described for determining whether an arbitrary goal configuration is admissible. We prove this algorithm correctly identifies admissible goal configurations and finds a “substrate path” within the goal configuration along which the modules can move to reach their positions in the goal. A second result of the paper is a distributed algorithm for reconfiguring a straight chain into an admissible goal configuration. Different heuristics are proposed to improve the performance of the reconfiguration algorithm and simulation results demonstrate the use of these heuristics.