Graduate Studies


Date of this Version

Summer 7-29-2016


Hossain, Kazi M., 2016. Design and algorithms for a modular self-reconfigurable robot. MS Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2016


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, Under the Supervision of Professor Carl A. Nelson. Lincoln, Nebraska: July, 2016

Copyright (c) 2016 Kazi Mashfique Hossain


This thesis discusses mechanical design and control algorithms for enhancing modular robot functionality. Modular robots can form chain or lattice structures by assembling themselves in different ways. To do that, each module has to have the design characteristics for successful inter-module docking and useful degrees of freedom. The thesis includes design improvements for practical implementation of a previous modular self-reconfigurable robot design called ModRED II. A graph theory approach was investigated in terms of enumeration of kinematics and determination of configuration isomorphism. Kinematic equations were derived for unique configurations which were used for certain example configurations. For successful task achievement, efficient information sharing between the modules, better perception of configuration and well-structured motion sequence or docking are very important. In a scenario where sharing resources between different configurations is a priority, it is vital to have a well-defined, energy-efficient, task-specific and effective strategy of operation. Methods to (1) discover the topology of a given structure by a master module in a recursive manner, (2) share the information with another master module to compare the utility of current or future configurations and (3) make a successful docking attachment, all using automata theory, are proposed. The potential advantage of this method is to reduce the computational overhead. The results of mechanical design changes, and implementation of the kinematics and automata algorithms, are presented.

Advisor: Carl A. Nelson