usBot: A modular robotic testbed for programmable self-assembly

Usman A. Fiaz, Jeff S. Shamma

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


We present the design, characterization, and experimental results for a new modular robotic system for programmable self-assembly. The proposed system uses the Hybrid Cube Model (HCM), which integrates classical features from both deterministic and stochastic self-organization models. Thus, for instance, the modules are passive as far as their locomotion is concerned (stochastic), and yet they possess an active undocking routine (deterministic). The robots are constructed entirely from readily accessible components and unlike many existing robots, their excitation is not fluid mediated. Instead, the actuation setup is a solid state, independently programmable, and highly portable platform. The system is capable of demonstrating fully autonomous and distributed stochastic self-assembly in two dimensions. It is shown to emulate the performance of several existing modular systems and promises to be a substantial effort towards developing a universal testbed for programmable self-assembly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-126
Number of pages6
Issue number15
StatePublished - Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event8th IFAC Symposium on Mechatronic Systems, MECHATRONICS 2019 - Vienna, Austria
Duration: Sep 4 2019Sep 6 2019


  • Mechanisms
  • Mechatronic systems
  • Modular robotics
  • Multi-agent systems
  • Robotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering


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