A prototype of the Detachable Compliant Modular Robot (DCMR).

Researchers from the Robotics Research Centre at the International Institute of Technology – Hyderabad (IIIT-H), have developed a stair and obstacle climbing robot that can disassemble itself into smaller robots, and then reassemble back into one device. As a composite system, the Detachable Compliant Modular Robot (DCMR) can climb steep obstacles and staircases, and explore uneven terrain. When it detaches into multiple robots, it can explore cramped spaces, traverse flat terrain, and behave as a Multi Agent System (MAS).

The DCMR prototype consists of three modules, detachable into four different individual robots. The modular robot design includes spring loaded joints to help tackle tough obstacles like stairs. It has actuators at the wheels, and has an additional set of actuators in each module to enable the detachment and re-attachment process. Compliant elements were used to facilitate the required climbing movement, and the challenges of stabilizing individual robots after detachment were addressed with a Castor Wheel Support (CWS).

The DCMR complies with both the Uneven Terrain Navigation and MAS specifications. Using the prototype, researchers showed that the individual explorer bots could re-attach and then climb obstacles and stairs. With its climbing ability, the DCMR can extend MAS applications to maps of various floors in a building.

Visit the source link below to read the research paper and watch a video of the robot in action.