Soldercubes: a self-soldering self-reconfiguring modular robot system
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- Neubert, J. & Lipson, H. Auton Robot (2016) 40: 139. doi:10.1007/s10514-015-9441-4
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Soldercubes are a self-reconfiguring modular robot (MR) system whose modules are light weight, low cost, and designed with manufacturability for large batch production in mind. The frequently cited promises of modular robotics—versatility, robustness, and low cost—assume the availability of large numbers of modules. However, modules in most MR prototypes are large, mechanically complex, expensive, and difficult to manufacture. Soldercubes partially overcome this contradiction through optimizing some components for volume manufacturing processes. With the integration of a soldering connector which weighs only 2 g and has no moving parts, Soldercubes are among the cheapest, lightest and smallest among comparable self-reconfiguring MR systems. This paper describes the Soldercube module design in detail, reports on experiments in a lattice configuration, explores non-lattice applications of the system, and discusses the effects of utilising volume manufacturing processes in module production. All Soldercubes design files are released as open source hardware.