This paper presents the development of a novel coupling mechanism for modular self-reconfigurable mobile robots. Modular self-reconfigurable mobile robotic systems consist of a large number of self-sufficient modules that can transform into various configurations. One of the most challenging tasks in this field is designing a reliable and flexible coupling mechanism that physically connects modules to form larger and more articulated structures to scale up locomotion and manipulation functions. In this research we propose GHEFT: a Genderless, High strength, Efficient, Fail-safe, and high misalignment Tolerant coupling mechanism that aids the process of self-reconfiguration, and self-repair. Many existing coupling mechanisms fail to possess these crucial design features. The proposed mechanism ensures an efficient and high strength connection due to non-back drivable actuation and specially designed clamping profiles that enables modules to tolerate large misalignments and engage/disengage without gender restrictions in the presence of one-sided malfunction; thus, increasing both the versatility and robustness of the entire robotic system. In this paper, misalignment analysis is performed to formulate simple relations based on clamping profile design parameters to achieve specific misalignment tolerances based on application requirements. These formulations are used to compute maximum misalignment tolerances. Dynamic simulations are then performed to determine maximum misalignment tolerance capabilities and verify computed tolerances.

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