Automated shapeshifting for function recovery in damaged robots

Sam Kriegman, Stephanie Walker, Dylan Shah, Michael Levin, Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio, Josh Bongard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

A robot’s mechanical parts routinely wear out from normal functioning and can be lost to injury. For autonomous robots operating in isolated or hostile environments, repair from a human operator is often not possible. Thus, much work has sought to automate damage recovery in robots. However, every case reported in the literature to date has accepted the damaged mechanical structure as fixed, and focused on learning new ways to control it. Here we show for the first time a robot that automatically recovers from unexpected damage by deforming its resting mechanical structure without changing its control policy. We found that, especially in the case of “deep insult”, such as removal of all four of the robot’s legs, the damaged machine evolves shape changes that not only recover the original level of function (locomotion) as before, but can in fact surpass the original level of performance (speed). This suggests that shape change, instead of control readaptation, may be a better method to recover function after damage in some cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRobotics
Subtitle of host publicationScience and Systems XV
EditorsAntonio Bicchi, Hadas Kress-Gazit, Seth Hutchinson
PublisherMIT Press Journals
ISBN (Print)9780992374754
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019
Event15th Robotics: Science and Systems, RSS 2019 - Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
Duration: Jun 22 2019Jun 26 2019

Publication series

NameRobotics: Science and Systems
ISSN (Electronic)2330-765X

Conference

Conference15th Robotics: Science and Systems, RSS 2019
Country/TerritoryGermany
CityFreiburg im Breisgau
Period6/22/196/26/19

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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