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Study of Super-Mechano Colony: concept and basic experimental set-up

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In our COE/TITech project, we have been studying a heterogeneous robotic system of decentralized autonomous agents with a leader agent, known as the 'Super-Mechano Colony' (SMC), which has characteristics of both the hierarchical and distributed control systems. This paper explains the basic concept and a physical test-bed of a SMC and discusses one example, specifically planetary rovers, for SMC. In order to provide a test-bed for the basic architecture, a homogeneous colony of 12 child-machines and one mother-ship were designed and built. Each child-machine of the colony has an octagonal body mounted on two independent axle wheels and each robot is equipped with a manipulator arm. Each robot has 5 actuated d.o.f.; specifically, two motors rotating the independent wheels of the body, one motor for opening and closing the gripper, one motor for lifting and lowering the arm, and one motor for rotating the body. While the child-machines are grasping the stud attached around the mother-ship, each child-machine can charge its own battery from the charger mounted on the mother-ship.
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Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 2-12-1 Oo-okayama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-8552, Japan

Publication date: 2001-07-01

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