Molecubes for Everyone

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Early animated concept video: What Molecubes Can Do (no sound)
Molecubes integrated functional demo
Welcome to the Molecubes wiki!  This original wiki was overrun with spam, corrupted, and went offline.  By popular demand, here we are manually recovering its contents from a backup.  Work in progress!

About Molecubes

This wiki describes how to build, program, and use Molecubes, personal DIY reconfigurable modular robots.

Modular robots were envisioned as a universal robust and low cost alternative to many specialized robots with fixed body structure and functionality. However, after decades of research, these advantages are yet to manifest themselves in practice[1]. Some of the issues that hinder progress are high complexity and cost of known modular robotic systems. Relatively few specialized labs at select universities have the resources and expertise to advance this technology.

In this wiki, we share all the designs and instructions on building, programming, and operating Molecubes, a low cost open source modular robotic system[2][3]. With this wiki, we invite everyone to consider building their own set of Molecubes, experiment, and develop new applications for them. We welcome any improvement suggestions, new designs, proposals for new expansion modules, development of robot firmware, communication protocols, controls and user interface software, etc.

In case you did not know...

The original design of Molecubes was used to demonstrate the first successful instance of robotic kinematic self-replication[4][5].

Building Your First Molecube - Step by Step

Step 1: Design Overview - A high level overview and introduction to the actuator Molecube design.

Step 2: Procuring Components - Where to get the materials and components needed to build an actuator Molecube.

Step 3: Building Electronic Circuit Boards - Step by step guide to assembling an actuator Molecube PCBs.

Step 4: Assembling of an Actuator Molecube - Step by step guide to building an actuator Molecube.

Step 5: Setup Actuator Molecube Software Development Environment - How to program the Atmel Atmega164P MCUs (microprocessors) on each Molecube.


References:

  1. Modular Self-reconfigurable Robot Systems: Challenges and Opportunities for the Future. by Mark Yim, Wei-min Shen, Benham Salemi, Daniela Rus, Mark Moll, Hod Lipson, Eric Klavins (2012)
  2. Molecubes: An Open-Source Modular Robotics Kit by Victor Zykov, Andrew Chan, and Hod Lipson, in proceedings of Self-Reconfigurable Robots workshop at IROS-2007
  3. Molecubes extended: Diversifying capabilities of open-source modular robotics by Victor Zykov, Phelps Williams, Nicolas Lassabe, and Hod Lipson - IROS-2008 Self-Reconfigurable Robotics Workshop
  4. Robotics: Self-reproducing machines Nature 435 (7039), 163
  5. Molecubes: kinematic self-replication