A modular robot that exhibits amoebic locomotion

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37 Citations (Scopus)


This paper discusses a fully decentralized algorithm able to control the morphology of a two-dimensional modular robot called "Slimebot", consisting of many identical modules, according to the environment encountered. One of the significant features of our approach is that we explicitly exploit "emergent phenomena" stemming from the interplay between control and mechanical systems in order to control the morphology in real time. To this end, we particularly focus on a "functional material" and a "mutual entrainment", the former of which is used as a spontaneous connectivity control mechanism between the modules, and the latter of which plays as the core of the control mechanism for the generation of locomotion. Simulation results indicate that the proposed algorithm can induce "amoebic locomotion", which allows us to successfully control the morphology of the modular robot in real time according to the situation without losing the coherence of the entire system. The results obtained are expected to shed light on how control and mechanical systems should be coupled, and what the carefully designed interaction between control and mechanical systems brings to the resulting behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-650
Number of pages10
JournalRobotics and Autonomous Systems
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Aug 31


  • Amoebic locomotion
  • Decentralized control
  • Emergent phenomena
  • Modular robot
  • Morphology control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Computer Science Applications


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