FreeSN: A Freeform Strut-node Structured Modular Self-reconfigurable Robot

This paper proposes a novel freeform strut-node structured modular self-reconfigurable robot (MSRR) called FreeSN, consisting of strut and node modules. A node module is mainly a low-carbon steel spherical shell. A strut module contains two freeform connectors, which provide strong magnetic connections and flexible spherical motions. The FreeSN system shares the benefits of freeform connection and strut-node structures. The freeform connection brings good adaptability to the environment. The triangle substructures inside the system configuration significantly improve the structural stability. The parallel execution of module motions can superpose the module capabilities and makes the system more scalable. The modules can combine these robot features by selecting the system configuration and better fit different circumstances and tasks. Four demonstrations, including assembly, obstacle crossing, transportation, and object manipulation, are designed to show the capabilities of the FreeSN system in different aspects. The results show the great performance and versatility of this MSRR system.

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