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Note: A broader article is being constructed about Self-Reconfiguring Modular Robotics
Self-reconfiguration is a term used in the fields of robotics and nanotechnology. It refers to the use of numerous semi-independent modules that can combine themselves in different ways to perform different functions.
For example, a robot made of such components could assume a worm-like shape to move through a narrow pipe, reassemble into something with spider-like legs to cross uneven terrain, then form a third arbitrary object (like a ball or wheel that can spin itself) to move quickly over a fairly flat terrain; it can also be used for making "fixed" objects, such as walls, shelters, or buildings.
In some cases this involves each module having 2 or more connectors for connecting several together. They can contain electronics, sensors, computer processors, memory, and power supplies; they can also contain actuators that are used for manipulating their location in the environment and in relation with each other. A feature found in some cases is the ability of the modules to automatically connect and disconnect themselves to and from each other, and to form into many objects or perform many tasks moving or manipulating the environment.
There are two basic types of methods of segment articulation that self-reconfigurable mechanisms can utilize to reshape their structures, chain reconfiguration and lattice reconfiguration.
- reconfigurable computing
- Self replication
- Utility fog