1st International ICST Conference on Robot Communication and Coordination

Research Article

Self-Reconfigurable Modular Robot M-TRAN: Distributed Control and Communication

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  • @INPROCEEDINGS{10.4108/ICST.ROBOCOMM2007.2119,
        author={Haruhisa Kurokawa and Kohji Tomita and Akiya Kamimura and Shigeru Kokaji and Takashi Hasuo and Satoshi Murata},
        title={Self-Reconfigurable Modular Robot M-TRAN: Distributed Control and Communication},
        proceedings={1st International ICST Conference on Robot Communication and Coordination},
        keywords={Central pattern generator Coordinated motion control Distributed autonomous system},
  • Haruhisa Kurokawa
    Kohji Tomita
    Akiya Kamimura
    Shigeru Kokaji
    Takashi Hasuo
    Satoshi Murata
    Year: 2010
    Self-Reconfigurable Modular Robot M-TRAN: Distributed Control and Communication
    DOI: 10.4108/ICST.ROBOCOMM2007.2119
Haruhisa Kurokawa1,*, Kohji Tomita1,*, Akiya Kamimura1,*, Shigeru Kokaji1,*, Takashi Hasuo2,*, Satoshi Murata3,*
  • 1: Intelligent Systems Research Institute at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tsukuba, Japan
  • 2: Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering at the University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan
  • 3: Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Science and Engineering at Tokyo Institute of Technology, Yokohama, Japan
*Contact email: kurokawa-h@aist.go.jp, k.tomita@aist.go.jp, kamimura.a@aist.go.jp, s.kokaji@aist.go.jp, hasuo@bcl.esys.tsukuba.ac.jp, murata@dis.titech.ac.jp


M-TRAN is a self-reconfigurable modular robot: each module has an independent battery, two-degree-of-freedom motion, six-surface-connection capability, and intelligence with inter- module communication. The M-TRAN system can perform flexible and adaptive locomotion in various configurations using coordination control based on a central pattern generator (CPG). Various structures of several modules can perform metamorphosis, such as that between a four-legged robot and a snake-like one. In addition to these self-reconfigurations with synchronous control, M-TRAN structures having regularity can move using parallel distributed control and message exchange via the network bus. Self-reconfiguration using infrared local communication has been attempted to improve the system’s scalability.