Humanoids and Human Centered Mechatronics
Center for Robotics and Intelligent Systems
Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia.
Via S. Quirico, 19d - 16163 Genoa, Italy
Tel: +39 010 2898 296
Since its inception that traces back to the late ‘80s, the concept of modular and reconfigurable robotic systems (i.e. robots composed of interchangeable modules whose structures can be quickly reconfigured), promise a cross-sector radical change of automation practice by enabling highly flexible and resilient applications in e.g., industrial settings, space operations and exploration, agriculture and search and rescue scenarios. This is due to the benefits that this technology can bring in terms of optimization possibilities and quick adaptability with respect to changing tasks and environments, simple maintenance and down-time fault resilience, standardization of robot-modules’ production, better transport e.g., for usability in inaccessible environments.
Despite these undoubtedly beneficial features, which are not present in classical fixed-configuration robots, modular and reconfigurable robotic systems still struggle to leave the research labs, with only few outstanding applications mostly limited to pilots. Although having enjoyed contributions from researchers worldwide over the last three decades, this technology still faces significant challenges in mechatronics design and control for wider sustainable real-world applicability. In fact, truly modular actuation, and communication technologies, non-bulky yet robust electro-mechanical interfaces allowing effortless engagement of modules, user-friendly task-driven assembly selection tools, quickly and automatically deployable motion planning and control tools and interfaces, and configuration dependent motion guarding tools for safe operations are among the open challenges that can still significantly limit adoption and effectiveness of this technology in applications.
The resolution of these challenges still needs the best possible contribution of the robotics research community. Recently, new results in mechatronic system design and control with significantly improved components for reaching high power-to-weight ratios, the decrease of costs for highly accurate sensors, reliable high-bandwidth communication protocols and the vast computational resources available today, put us at the turning point for unleashing the potential of modular and reconfigurable robots’ technology and their application. The landscape of commercial solutions adopting the principles of modular reconfigurable robotics is populated by industrial pioneers such as Schunk GmbH, as well as more recent spin-offs from research groups world-wide such as HEBI Robotics, Inc. from Carnegie Mellon University and Kea Robotics GmbH from the Technical University of Munich.
In light of the above, this workshop aims at: i) bringing together researchers in the field of modular and reconfigurable robot mechatronics design and control, for presenting current results and discussing challenges, towards a boosted and coordinated action of the community for contributing to unleash modular and reconfigurable robots’ potentials; ii)offering interactive and brainstorming group sessions opportunities, thus permitting the generation of modern promising mechatronic design and control concepts for modular and reconfigurable robots; iii) offering the possibility to junior researchers and doctoral students for discussing their followed research directions and interact with researchers of higher seniority for both mechatronic system design and control aspects; iv) offering possibility also to researchers with mechatronic systems design and control background not directly related to modular robots to understand how their concepts and results could support stemming also modular robots’ open challenges.
Topics of interest
Modular actuation technologies
Robot body modules and modular mechatronics
Quickly engaged plug and play electromechanical interfaces
Reconfigurable robotic platforms
Modular collaborative robots and automation systems
Task driven synthesis of modular robots
Model-based control of modular and configurable robots
Adaptable motion planning for configurable robots
Automatic tuning of modular robot control and interfaces
This year IROS workshops are organized as a series of pre-recorded talks and live interactive sessions. Abstracts and recorded videos of the talks will be available for the workshop audience. The live session of the workshop on Modular and Reconfigurable Robot Mechatronics and Control: Challenges and Recent Advancements is scheduled for September 27, 14:00–16:00 CEST and will be used for teaser presentations of the recorded talks and live interactions with the audience. Please check for latest updates at IROS 2021 workshops webpage
|Speaker||Affiliation||Tentative talk of the title|
Generative networks for design and control of modular systems
Variable Topology Truss Reconfigurable Robots
Variable Topology Truss Reconfigurable Robots
Modular robot bodies and mechatronics
Gregory Scott Chirikjian
Modular Building Blocks for a Self-Replicating Factory
Computational Algorithms for Modular Robots
Ulrik Pagh Schultz
Reversible control of modular robots
Model-based robust control of modular reconfigurable robots
Self-verification of modular robots