Modular robots offer versatility and functional advantages over traditional fixed-structure robots. Their ability to reconfigure their morphology by rearranging their inter connectivity enables them to adapt to environmental changes. For example, a modular robot may be capable of modifying its configuration from a legged to a snake or rolling robot depending on the terrain. Modularity and re-configurability also enable robots to perform tasks a single module or a fixed-structure robot is unable to perform. The broad utility that modular robots can provide promises a redefinition of the role they play in society, most notably in enabling the co-integration of mobile robots in urban environments alongside humans.
STORM can be explained through a scenario. "We would design smaller mobile robots that can move around very effectively, like agents. They would be scattered all around, say in a collapsed building after an earthquake, and they would act as sensor agents collecting information through cameras and sensors, which they would share through wireless communication. When a need arises to actually act on the environment-for example, one of the robots finds a person in the rubble-then it calls the other robots, which swarm in from various locations and they self-assemble into the hybrid configuration needed for a particular task. We are pioneering this at VT. Find out more, Here: