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Journal of Robotics
Volume 2017, Article ID 5013532, 19 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/5013532
Review Article

Modular Self-Reconfigurable Robotic Systems: A Survey on Hardware Architectures

EEE Department, NH-17B, BITS Pilani KK Birla Goa Campus, Goa 403726, India

Correspondence should be addressed to S. Sankhar Reddy Chennareddy; ni.ca.inalip-stib.aog@rahknas

Received 22 November 2016; Accepted 26 February 2017; Published 15 March 2017

Academic Editor: Shahram Payandeh

Copyright © 2017 S. Sankhar Reddy Chennareddy et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Modular self-reconfigurable robots present wide and unique solutions for growing demands in the domains of space exploration, automation, consumer products, and so forth. The higher utilization factor and self-healing capabilities are most demanded traits in robotics for real world applications and modular robotics offer better solutions in these perspectives in relation to traditional robotics. The researchers in robotics domain identified various applications and prototyped numerous robotic models while addressing constraints such as homogeneity, reconfigurability, form factor, and power consumption. The diversified nature of various modular robotic solutions proposed for real world applications and utilization of different sensor and actuator interfacing techniques along with physical model optimizations presents implicit challenges to researchers while identifying and visualizing the merits/demerits of various approaches to a solution. This paper attempts to simplify the comparison of various hardware prototypes by providing a brief study on hardware architectures of modular robots capable of self-healing and reconfiguration along with design techniques adopted in modeling robots, interfacing technologies, and so forth over the past 25 years.