In this paper, we present the design of a new structural extension for the e-puck mobile robot. The extension may be used to transform what is traditionally a swarm robotics platform into a self-reconfigurable modular robotic system. We introduce a modified version of a previously developed collective locomotion algorithm and present new experimental results across three different themes. We begin by investigating how the performance of the collective locomotion algorithm is affected by the size and shape of the robotic structures involved, examining structures containing up to nine modules. Without alteration to the underlying algorithm, we then analyse the implicit self-assembling and self-reconfiguring capabilities of the system and show that the novel use of 'virtual sensors' can significantly improve performance. Finally, by examining a form of environment driven self-reconfiguration, we observe the behaviour of the system in a more complex environment. We conclude that the modular e-puck extension represents a viable platform for investigating collective locomotion, self-assembly and self-reconfiguration.
- Collective locomotion
- Self-reconfigurable modular robotics
- Swarm robotics