Scale invariant robot behavior with fractals


Robots deployed at orders of magnitude different size scales, and that retain the same desired behavior at any of those scales, would greatly expand the environments in which the robots could operate. However it is currently not known whether such robots exist, and, if they do, how to design them. Since self similar structures in nature often exhibit self similar behavior at different scales, we hypothesize that there may exist robot designs that have the same property. Here we demonstrate that this is indeed the case for some, but not all, modular soft robots: there are robot designs that exhibit a desired behavior at a small size scale, and if copies of that robot are attached together to realize the same design at higher scales, those larger robots exhibit similar behavior. We show how to find such designs in simulation using an evolutionary algorithm.

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