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CLAYTRONICS THE NEXT WAVE OF ROBOTICS Abstract—Taking the inevitability of micron-scale manufacturing as a starting point, we present claytronics, a modularrobotics system designed to scale millions of cooperating, sub-millimeter scale units. The goal is for the system to act as a coherent mass and thereby mimic, with high-fidelity and in 3-dimensional solid form, the look, feel, and motion of macro-scale objects. Think of claytronics as a more workable version of nanotechnology,
which in its most advanced form promises to do the same thing but requires billions of self-assembling robots. Keywords:Catoms,Modular Robots,Nanofiber Adhesives, Synthetic Realty. I.INTRODUCTION Claytronics is an emerging engineering field designing a kind of programmable clay that can morph into a working 3-D replica of any person or object, based on information transmitted from anywhere in the world. . The term Claytronics was coined by Seth Copen Goldstein and Todd Mowry , proffesors at Carnegie Mellon University. Claytronics is a form a programmable matter that takes the concept of modular robots to a new extreme. Previous approaches to modular robotics sought to create an ensemble of tens or even hundreds of small autonomous robots which could, through coordination, achieve a global effect not possible by any single unit. Claytronics is made up of individual components, called catoms—for Claytronic atoms—that can move in three dimensions (in relation to other catoms), adhere to other catoms to maintain a 3D shape, and compute state information (with possible assistance from other catoms in the ensemble). Each catom is a self-contained unit with a CPU, an energy store, a network device, a video output device, one or more sensors, a means of locomotion, and a mechanism for adhering to other catoms. At this point, the catoms would start to move around each other using forces generated on-board, either magnetically or electrostatically, and adhere to each other using, for example, a nanofiber-adhesive mechanism. Finally, the catoms on the surface would display an image; rendering the color and texture characteristics of the source object. If the source object begins to move, a concise description of the movements would be broadcast allowing the catoms to update their positions by moving around each other. The end result is the global effect of a single coordinated system. At the current stage of design, claytronics hardware operates from macroscale designs with devices that are much larger than the tiny modular robots that set the goals of this engineering research. Such devices are designed to test concepts for sub-millimeter scale modules and to elucidate crucial effects of the physical and electrical forces that affect nanoscale robots. II.SCLAING AND DESIGN PRINCIPLES OF CATOMS A fundamental requirement of Claytronics is that the system must scale to very large numbers of interacting catoms. The following four design principles are considered: 1. Each catom should be self-contained, in the sense of possessing everything necessary for performing its own computation, communication, sensing, actuation, locomotion, and adhesion. 2. To support efficient routing of power and avoid excessive heat dissipation, no static power should be required for adhesion after attachment. 3. The coordination of the catoms should be performed via local control. In particular, no computation external to the ensemble should be necessary for individual catom execution. 4. For economic viability, manufacturability, and reliability, catoms should contain no moving parts III.HARDWARE The creative systems evolved , the path of a millimeter scale module that will represent the creation of a self-actuating catom - a device that can compute, move, and communicate - at the nano-scale has been developed. . Fig1.Side view of planar prototype catom. Fig 2.Top view of planar prototype catom. The catom is constructed from modular boards to support experimentation with different kinds of networking, displays,and sensors. The bottom most board is the power board which connects the catom to the power plane using low friction/lowresistance contacts. The power board is connected to a plastic shell which holds the magnets. Inside the plastic shell are room for the processor and the communications. Sitting on top of the shell are the magnet driver boards (the densest board in the system provides the bidirectional current control to each magnet). When fully assembled the topmost board is a display. Motion is achieved by having neighboring catoms each turn-on a single magnet. By placing them in two layers each of the magnets can be twice as large as they would otherwise be. Using magnets to move the catoms is power inefficient at the current scale. However, it verifies the basic design principles which will be needed to scale the catoms down in size—independent locomotion mechanisms are unnecessary in the ensemble.The current open-loop movement strategy allows catoms to rotate in a full circle in less than 2 seconds, achieving linear motion of 44mm/sec.This would allow a 7 catom group to move forward at the rate of 22mm/sec. Fig 3.Two catoms ready to move. IV.SOFTWARE The essence of claytronics—a massively distributed system composed of numerous resource-limited catoms—raises significant software issues: specifying functionality, managing concurrency, handling failure robustly, dealing with uncertain information, and controlling resource usage. The software used to control claytronics must also scale to millions of catoms. A notable characteristic of a claytronic matrix is its huge concentration of computational power within a small space. Thus, current software engineering practices, even as applied to distributed systems, may not be suitable. Meld and LDP are new languages for this declarative programming .These provide compact linguistic structures for cooperative management of the motion of millions of modules in a matrix. Meld addresses the need to write computer code for an ensemble of robots from a global perspective, enabling the programmer to concentrate on the overall performance of the matrix.This form of logical programming represents a heuristic solution to the challenge of controlling the action of such a great number of individual computing nodes. Locally Distributed Predicates (LDP) approaches the distributed programming problem using pattern-matching techniques. LDP provides programmers the ability to specify distributed state configurations. The LDP runtime automatically detects occurrences of these distributed configurations, and triggers user-specified actions in response to the detection event. LDP also allows for the expression of distributed event sequences, as well as the expression of particular shapes . through the use of automated history and temporal operators These facilities, combined with an array of mathematical and logical operators, allow programmers to express a wide variety of distributed conditions. As with Meld, LDP produces dramatically shorter code than traditional high-level languages (C++, Java, etc.). V.APPLICATIONS 1.) Future of long-distance meetings: You can fax over an exact copy of your body, which will sit in that conference room thousands of miles away, mimicking your moves in real time and speaking with your voice. 2.) A firefighter could send a claytronic version of himself into a burning building instead of himself. 3.) We can design and program a collection of micro/nanorobots to create a useful macroscale robot. 4.) We can change the colour for our objects(eg: cars,etc) as per our wish with same set of catoms at any time. 5.) Shape shifting: Millions of tiny processors called catoms could turn, say, a laptop into a cell phone. VI.CURRENT LIMITATIONS Produced under the mantra of "scale up in numbers and down in size," a catom will require a bevy of features, especially since an estimated two million micron-scale robots will be required to make a claytron appear convincingly human. A CPU, a power store, a network device, video output devices, sensors, a means to move around, a means of sticking to other catoms—each of these features must successfully be implemented to ensure that Claytronics emerges someday from the lab. VII.CONCLUSION This paper has presented a brief overview of the current field of modular, self-reconfigurable robotics, and demonstrated some of the challenges involved in further miniaturizing the modules. Claytronics is one instance of programmable matter, a system which can be used to realize 3D dynamic objects in the physical world. Though original motivation was to create the technology necessary to realize pario and synthetic reality, it should also serve as the basis for a large scale modular robotic system. REFERENCES [1]. T. Fukuda and S. Nakagawa. Dynamically reconfigurable robotic system. In IEEE ICRA, pp. 1581–1586, Apr 1988. [2]. S. C. Goldstein and M. Budiu. NanoFabrics: Spatial computing using molecular electronics. In 28th ISCA, pp. 178–189, 2001 [3]. Y. Cui and C. Lieber. Functional Nanoscale Electronic Devices Assembled Using Silicon Nanowire Building Blocks. Science, 291:851, 2001. [4].Google.



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