Design and Calibration of a Lightweight Physics-Based Model for Fluid-Mediated Self-assembly of Robotic Modules

  • Bahar HaghighatEmail author
  • Hala Khodr
  • Alcherio Martinoli
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Advanced Robotics book series (SPAR, volume 9)


In this paper, we consider a system consisting of multiple floating robotic modules performing self-assembly. Faithfully modeling such a system and its inter-module interactions typically involves capturing the hydrodynamic forces acting on the modules using computationally expensive fluid dynamic modeling tools. This poses restrictions on the usability of the resulting models. Here, we present a new approach towards modeling such systems. First, we show how the hardware and firmware of the robotic modules can be faithfully modeled in a high-fidelity robotic simulator. Second, we develop a physics plugin to recreate the hydrodynamic forces acting on the modules and propose a trajectory-based method for calibrating the plugin model parameters. Our calibration method employs a Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) algorithm, and consists of minimizing the difference between Mean Squared Displacement (MSD) data extracted from real and simulated trajectories of multiple robotic modules.



This work has been partially sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation under the grant numbers 200021_137838/1 and 200020_157191/1.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bahar Haghighat
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hala Khodr
    • 1
  • Alcherio Martinoli
    • 1
  1. 1.École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Distributed Intelligent Systems and Algorithms Laboratory (DISAL)School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental EngineeringLausanneSwitzerland

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