Enveloping multi-pocket obstacles with hexagonal metamorphic robots

Jennifer E. Walter, Mary E. Brooks, David F. Little, Nancy M. Amato

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The problem addressed is reconfiguration planning for a metamorphic robotic system composed of any number of hexagonal robots when a single obstacle with multiple indentations or "pockets" is embedded in the goal environment. We extend our earlier work on filling a single pocket in an obstacle to the case where the obstacle surface may contain multiple pockets. The planning phase of our algorithm first determines whether the obstacle pockets provide sufficient clearance for module movement, i.e., whether the obstacle is "admissible". In this paper, we present algorithms that sequentially order individual pockets and order module placement inside each pocket. These algorithms ensure that every cell in each pocket is filled and that module deadlock and collision do not occur during reconfiguration. This paper also provides a complete overview of the planning stage that is executed prior to reconfiguration and presents a distributed reconfiguration schema for filling more than one obstacle pocket concurrently, followed by the envelopment of the entire obstacle. Lastly, we present examples of obstacles with multiple pockets that were successfully filled using our distributed reconfiguration simulator.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2204-2209
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings- 2004 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation - New Orleans, LA, United States
Duration: Apr 26 2004May 1 2004


  • Distributed reconfiguration
  • Hexagonal robots
  • Metamorphic robots
  • Obstacle
  • Pocket

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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