The solving by building approach based on thermoplastic adhesives

Fumiya Iida, Liyu Wang, Luzius Brodbeck, Derek Leach, Surya Nurzaman, Utku Culha

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOther


While, in nature, changes of morphology such as body shape, size, and strength play essential roles in animals’ adaptability in a variety of environment, our robotic systems today still severely suffer from the lack of flexibility in morphology which is one of the most significant bottlenecks for their autonomy and adaptability. With the ability to autonomously modify own body shapes or mechanical structures in surroundings, robotic systems could achieve a variety of tasks in flexible and simple manners. For this reason, we have been investigating technological solutions based on a class of unconventional material, the so-called Thermoplastic Adhesives (TPAs), with which the robots are able to construct their own body parts as well as connecting and disconnecting various mechanical structures. Based on our technological exploration so far, in this paper, we introduce the concept of “solving-by-building” approach, in which we consider how autonomous construction of mechanical parts can help robots to improve performances or to “solve” problems in given tasks. Unlike the conventional adaptive systems that can only learn motor control policies, the ability to change mechanical structures can potentially deal with a significantly more variety of problems. By introducing some of the recent case studies in our laboratory, we discuss the challenges and perspectives of the solving-by-building approach based on TPAs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRobotics Research - 16th International Symposium ISRR
EditorsPeter Corke, Masayuki Inaba
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9783319288703
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Symposium on Robotics Research 2013 - Singapore, Singapore
Duration: 16 Dec 201319 Dec 2013
Conference number: 16th (Proceedings)

Publication series

NameSpringer Tracts in Advanced Robotics
ISSN (Print)1610-7438
ISSN (Electronic)1610-742X


ConferenceInternational Symposium on Robotics Research 2013
Abbreviated titleISRR 2013
Internet address

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