NASA 1999 SBIR Phase I


Self-Assembling Robots

 

PROPOSAL NUMBER 99-1 24.01-2567 (Chron: 991371 )

PROJECT TITLE

Self-Assembling Robots


TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project proposes to examine, evaluate, and develop the concepts, mechanisms, and processes required for the creation of self-assembling robots using the notion of self-organization from complexity theory. A self-assembling robot is a class of robotic device that is capable of, on a basic level, pulling itself together from a small collection of components. Self-organization is the theory that complex systems

can be created from the simple behavior of autonomous components. Specifically, this project hopes to achieve a simple set of components that can pull themselves together to form a more complex whole termed the Modular Micro Rover (MRM), and whose basic design can be used as a stepping stone towards true self-replicating systems (SRS). This first step can reduce the costs associated with robotic exploration and increase the lifetime of robotic colonies, without the development of an entirely new area of technology.


POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS

Commercial applications of a self-assembling robot are varied considering that practicality of a device that is capable of repairing itself on a, somewhat limited level. Probably the greatest mass-market ideas concern robots that can be used in the household. Vacuuming, mowing the lawn, cleaning up after pets, and other such domestic tasks will be an incredible market once robots are developed capable of such autonomous behavior. However, at the

opposite end of the spectrum, the technology needed for a self-assembling robot can be used to create colonies of mining robots that are "fed" with shipments of spare components.


NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address,

City/State/Zip)

Charles J. Jacobus, Ph.D.

Cybernet Systems Corporation

727 Airport Boulevard

Ann Arbor , MI 48108 - 1639


NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)

Cybernet Systems Corporation

727 Airport Boulevard

Ann Arbor , MI 48108 - 1639