SwarmLMRpubs - Arbuckle Requicha Self-Assembly and...

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Arbuckle & Requicha Self-Assembly and Self-Repair 1 Self-Assembly and Self-Repair of Arbitrary Shapes by a Swarm of Reactive Robots: Algorithms and Simulations D. J. Arbuckle and A. A. G. Requicha Laboratory for Molecular Robotics University of Southern California Abstract Self-assembly of active, robotic agents, rather than of passive agents such as molecules, is an emerging research field that is attracting increasing attention. Active self-assembly techniques are independent of spatial scale, but they are especially attractive at very small scales, where alternative construction methods are unavailable or have severe limitations. Building nanostructures by using swarms of very simple nanorobots is a promising approach for manufacturing nanoscale devices and systems. The method described in this paper allows a group of simple, physically identical, identically programmed and memoryless agents to construct and repair polygonal approximations to arbitrary structures in the plane. The distributed algorithms presented here are tolerant of robot failures and of externally-induced disturbances. The structures are self-healing, and self-replicating to a limited extent. Their components can be re-used once the structures are no longer needed. A specification of vertices at relative positions, and the edges between them, is translated by a compiler into reactive rules for assembly agents. These rules lead to the construction and repair of the specified shape. Simulation results are presented, which validate the proposed algorithms. Keywords : distributed robotics, global-to-local compilation, minimalistic robots, nanorobots, reactive robots, robot swarms, self-assembly, self-organization, self-repair. 1. Introduction Self-assembly is a process in which autonomous components join themselves to form more complex structures. Examples of self-assembly are all around (and within) us: atoms assemble themselves into molecules, supramolecular structures and crystals; molecules form membranes, organelles and cells; in turn, cells self-assemble into tissues and entire organisms. In contrast to what happens in nature, non-chemical engineered systems have not used self-assembly as a manufacturing process until now. (Chemistry itself is largely based on self-assembly processes.) Interest in self-assembly has been increasing rapidly over the last decade because it is an inherently parallel process that seems well-suited to the fabrication of complex structures from the bottom-up, using micro or nanoscale components. Many manufacturing processes are available at the macroscale, and self-assembly is not attractive at such scales, except possibly for some niche applications. However, there are few other promising alternatives for the mass production of nanosystems.
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Arbuckle & Requicha Self-Assembly and Self-Repair 2 In spite of very interesting research by Adleman [Adleman 2000], Winfrey [Winfrey et al. 1998], Rothemund [Rothemund 2006] and others, the structures built by traditional
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This note was uploaded on 07/22/2008 for the course CS 549 taught by Professor Requicha during the Spring '08 term at USC.

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SwarmLMRpubs - Arbuckle Requicha Self-Assembly and...

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