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Self-Reconfigurable modular robotics represents a new approach to robotic hardware. Instead of designing a new and different mechanical robot for each task, a generic â€œrobotâ€ is composed of many simple, identical, interacting and possibly lowpriced modules. The versatility of the robot emerges from the connection of all its components. Furthermore, given some mechanical abilities, a modular robot can even modify the position of its components to meet the demands of different tasks or different working environments. Recently, some researchers achieved the construction of a modular robot able to replicate itself in a three-dimensional environment, opening a whole world of potential applications. Modular robots are particularly well-suited to outdoor tasks, away from civilisation, where both mission and geography may be unpredictable.
In the future, systems of this kind will be involved in various operations ranging from space exploration (see[YRD+03]) to urban search and rescue (USAR) (see [YDR00a]) in buildings badly damaged by an earthquake or a bomb. Designing a modular robot involves holding the promises of versatility, adaptability, robustness and low cost. Although the related programming and technical challenges have yet not been fully and satisfactorily overcome, several research projects have reached key milestones, encouraging the scientific community to persevere in that direction.