The state of robotics in the 2020 : prominence of modularity. The modules form a shape as you put them together. The reason why modular robotics are the most popular is because they are a bit easier to program, easier to produce and reusable.
Modularity in Air
Flying modular robotic structure that is able to self-assemble in midair and cooperatively fly. The structure is composed by agile flying modules that can easily move in a three dimensional environment.
The module is based on a quadrotor platform within a cuboid frame which allows it to attach to other modules by matching vertical faces. Using this mechanism, a ModQuad swarm is able to rapidly assemble flying structures in midair using the robot bodies as building units.
The University of Pennsylvania’s Modular Robotics Laboratory works with a variety of robots built of units that can self-configure and re-configure themselves into a variety of shapes. The SMORES-EP module is seen here in three configurations at 2x, 8x, and 4x speed, respectively.
Check also : Robotic Cubes Jump and Communicate
Modular is good for industry
Amazon Kiva : a warehouse where robots navigate aroun following a series of computerized bar-code stickers on the floor.
Each drive unit has a sensor that prevents it from colliding with others. When the drive unit reaches the target location, it slides underneath the pod and lifts it off the ground through a corkscrew lift arm. The robot then carries the pod to the specified human operator to pick the items.
Kiva robot can load heavy as 3,000 pounds, they have a orange color for be easily visible by operators. The maximum velocity of the robots is 1.3 meters per second. those bots are battery-powered and need to be recharged every hour for five minutes.
The robot is techically easily to build, simple as a commercial Cleaning Robots.
Smart and modular, the hobbist choice
The main features of SMARS robot are the reduced number of components, the possibility of mount it without screws and without soldering any part, it doesn’t need glue or similar and it’s really cheap to build.
Another main point of SMARS is the modular design : You can mount different sensors and tools and design your own parts.
Check the Smars Project here: