SMORES v2 is a modular robot developed at the University of Pennsylvania. Like version 1, each module has four degrees of freedom (pan, tilt, and left/right wheels). Each module has its own battery, and communicates with a central computer over 802.11 WiFi. The side wheels have rubber tires that allows each module to drive like a car on flat surfaces. Currently, we are in the process of constructing thirty SMORES v2 modules.
The modules can connect to one another using four electro-permanent (EP) magnets on each face. EP magnets consist of an electromagnet coil wrapped around two permanent magnets, and can be turned on and off by sending a pulse of current through the coil. Once activated, they sustain a holding force of 20 Newtons per magnet with no constant power consumption – they only require power when switching states. The magnets can also be used to connect to and manipulate metal objects.