Locomotion with a Unit Modular Reconfigurable Robot


Polypod is a bi-unit modular robot. This means that the robot is built up of exactly two types of modules that are repeated many times. This repetition makes manufacturing easier and cheaper. Dynamic reconfigurability allows the robot to be highly versatile, reconfiguring itself to whatever shape best suits the current task. To study this versatility, locomotion was chosen as the class of tasks for examination.

This page presents work done in 1993 and 1994. Work on the next generation, called "PolyBot" started mid 1998 at PARC as part of the modular robotics project under the smart matter theme.


Includes nine images and five MPEG simulations and four new as of Feb 99 Quicktime videos of old demos of the physical robot showing some modes of locomotion with Polypod. This page resides at PARC.


Some inlined scanned photos (~200k) of the physical robot in different configurations (up to 11 modules).

Morphing Example

An example demonstration requiring reconfiguration. An MPEG video is included.


What can we learn from this? We present a taxonomy, some discussion and paper references.


Click here for some rambling thoughts on Polypod.

Thanks for visiting 
(~900K MPEG video)

Comments may be sent to Mark Yim at mark@flamingo.stanford.edu

last updated August 1997