Kyle Gilpin talks about his work with electropermanent magnets, which make excellent connectors for modular robots as they are strong, small, solid state, consume power only when connecting or disconnecting, and they can also handle communication and power transfer. Kyle also discusses how he used electropermanent magnets to build a 12 mm cube robot pebble. It uses controlled disassembly to "sculpt" objects by releasing the modules that aren't in the object you want. Finally he assesses the use of electropermanent magnets in motor applications. They are interesting in this context, as they can operate at low RPM's, which is important when modules scale and it gets harder to use gear boxes.
Kyle Gilpin is a PhD student in the Distributed Robotics Laboratory at MIT. He holds BS and MEng degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT. Gilpin works to improve communication and control in large distributed robotic systems. His past projects include developing ultra-wide band radios, real-time image processing systems, and reconfigurable sensor nodes. Before beginning his PhD, Gilpin spent two years working as a senior electrical engineer at Proteus Biomedical developing several ultra-low-power implantable devices. Gilpin is the recipient of both NSF and NDSEG fellowships.
This free podcast is from our Flexible Elements with Per Sjöborg series.