2013-07-02:Let's build a modular snake robot

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This is the session 1 of the 2013 Microbotics Summer Workshop organized by the Electronic Technology department at University of Malaga. In this session, a printable modular snake robot, consisting of 9 modules is assembled and the main locomotion principles are presented.

BILL of Materials

  • 10 Repyz pro modules, already assembled
  • 3 Skymega boards, Arduino compatibles. These boards are used only during the session 1 for showing the different locomotion gais. In the following session the students had to program the EZ430-RF2500 boards, connected to some extension boards that include connectors for the servos and the sensors.
  • 3 battery holders (for 4 AAA batteries) already assembled
  • 3 pairs of mounting brackets for attaching the battery holders to the modules
  • 60 M3x10 mm bolts
  • 60 M3 nuts



2013-07-01-Modular-snake-robots-Malaga.odp Slides (Sources, for Libre-office 4.0)
2013-07-01-Modular-snake-robots-Malaga.pdf Slides in PDF
on-line Read on-line in Slideshare


Before using this software, make sure you have installed the Ardusnake Library

Unimod_test1.ino Example 1: different oscillations of 1 module. The oscillation changes when the test button is pressed
Unimod_test2.ino Example 2: Oscillation of 2 modules. The phase difference is changed when the test button is pressed
wave.ino Example 3: The wave. 9 independent modules are oscillation so that a wave is generated
pp_test.ino Example 4: Locomotion of the pitch-pitch minimal configuration. When the test button is pressed, the gait is changed
pyp_gaits.ino Example 5: Locomotion of the pitch-yaw-pitch minimal configuration. When the test button is pressed, the gait is changed
py6.ino Example 6: Locomotion of a 6 module pitch-yaw snake

Git repository


Courtesy of Malakabot. Many thanks!


Flickr Album
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From left to right: Juan Robles de Toro, José María Torralba, Federico Coca Caba, Obijuan, Juan Carlos Joya Clarés and Enrique Norro Gañan (Click to enlarge)
Notes taken by Cristina Urdiales during the talk. Amazing drawings!!! Thanks Cristina!! :-) (Click to enlarge)

Related publications

Avinash Ranganath, Juan Gonzalez-Gomez, Luis Moreno Lorente (2011), "A Distributed Neural Controller for Locomotion in Linear Modular Robotic Configurations", Book chapter (VII), ISBN: 978-84-7484-238-8. Centro de automática y Robótica CSIC-UPM, pp. 129-144.

(PDF) (On-line) (More information)

Juan González-Gómez, Javier González-Quijano, Houxiang Zhang, Mohamed Abderrahim (2010),"Desarrollo de Robots modulares de tipo serpiente para búsqueda y rescate en entornos urbanos", Capítulo de Libro (20), ISBN: 978-84-614-5558-4. Centro de Automática y Robótica CSIC-UPM, pp. 335-353

(PDF) (online) More information

Houxiang Zhang, Wei Wang, Juan Gonzalez-Gomez and Jianwei Zhang (2010), "A bio-inspired small-sized wall-climbing caterpillar robot", Book chapter (1), Mechatronic Systems Applications, Annalisa Milella Donato Di Paola and Grazia Cicirelli (Ed.), pp. 1-16, ISBN: 978-953-307-040-7, InTech

(PDF) (On line)

Juan Gonzalez-Gomez, Javier Gonzalez-quijano, Houxiang Zhang, Mohamed Abderrahim, "Toward the sense of touch in snake modular robots for search and rescue operations". In Proc of the ICRA 2010 workshop on modular robots: State of the art. pp. 63-68, May-3rd, Anchorage, Alaska

(PDF) (On line in Scribd) (More information )

Juan Gonzalez-Gomez, "Modular Robotics and Locomotion: Application to Limbless robots". PhD Thesis. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. November-2008 (Translated into English)

(PDF) (On line in Scribd) (More information)

G. Salvietti, H.X. Zhang, J. Gonzalez-Gomez, D. Prattichizzo, and J.W. Zhang, "Task Priority Grasping and Locomotion Control of Modular Robot". In Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. on Robotics and Biomimetics, Guilin, China, December 2009


Houxiang Zhang, Wei Wang, Juan Gonzalez-Gomez, Jianwei Zhang. "Design and Realization of a Novel Modular Climbing Caterpillar Using Low-frequency Vibrating Passive Suckers". Advanced Robotics. Volume 23, Numbers 7-8, 2009 , pp. 889-906.
Houxiang Zhang, Juan González-Gómez, Jianwei Zhang. "A New Application of Modular Robots on Analysis of Caterpillar-like Locomotion". Proceedings of the 2009 IEEE International Conference on Mechatronics, Malaga, Spain, 14-17 April. I.S.B.N 978-1-4244-4195-2

(PDF) (On-line in Scribd) ( More Information)

Houxiang Zhang, Juan Gonzalez-Gomez, S.Y. Chen, Jianwei Zhang. "Embedded Intelligent Capability of a Modular Robotic System".Proceeding of IEEE Robio2008, Bangkok, Thailand, Dec. 2008

(PDF) (On-line in scribd)

Juan Gonzalez-Gomez, "Robótica Modular y Locomoción: Aplicación a Robots Ápodos". Tesis doctoral. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Noviembre-2008

(PDF) (En línea en Scribd) (Más información)

Houxiang Zhang, Juan Gonzalez-Gomez, Zhizhu Xie, Sheng Cheng, Jianwei Zhang. " Development of a Low-cost Flexible Modular Robot GZ-I". Proceeding of 2008 IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronlics, pp. 223-228, Xi'an, China, 4 - 7 June. I.S.B.N. 978-1-4244-2495-5

(PDF) (On line in scribd)

J. Gonzalez-Gomez, Houxiang Zhang and Eduardo Boemo, Locomotion Principles of 1D Topology Pitch and Pitch-Yaw-Connecting Modular Robots. Chapter 24 of the Book: Bioinspiration and Robotics: Walking and Climbing Robots, pp. 403-428. Published by Advanced Robotics Systems International and I-Tech Education and Publishing. Vienna, Austria. September 2007. I.S.B.N 978-3-902613-15-8.

(PDF) (On-line in scribd) (More Information)

H. X. Zhang, J. Gonzalez-Gomez, S.Y. Chen, W. Wang, R. Lin, D. Li, J.W. Zhang. A Novel Modular Climbing Caterpillar Using Low-Frequency Vibrating Passive Suckers. IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics. AIM2007. ETH Zurich, September 4-7, 2007, Switzerland. I.S.B.N. 978-1-4244-1264-1

(PDF) (On-line in scribd) (More Information)

J. Gonzalez-Gomez, Houxiang Zhang, Eduardo Boemo and Jianwei Zhang, Locomotion Capabilities of a Modular Robot with Eight Pitch-Yaw-Connecting Modules,Proc. of the 9th International Conference on Climbing and Walking Robots. Clawar06, pp. 150-157. Brussels, September 2006

(PDF) (On-line in scribd) (More Information)

Gonzalez-Gomez, J. ,Gonzalez, I. ,Gomez-Arribas F.J. and Boemo, E. Evaluation of a locomotion algorithm for worm-like robots on FPGA-embedded processors, In Lecture Notes in computer Science, vol.3985, pp. 24-29. I.S.S.N: 3-540-36708-X

(PDF) (On-line in scribd) (More Information)

Gonzalez-Gomez, J. and Boemo, E. Motion of Minimal Configurations of a Modular Robot: Sinusoidal, Lateral Rolling and Lateral Shift, Proc. of the 8th International Conference on Climbing and Walking Robots. CLAWAR, pp. 667-674. London, September 2005. I.S.B.N: 3-540-26413-2

(PDF) (on-line in Scribd) (More Information)

J. Gonzalez-Gomez, I. Gonzalez, FJ. Gomez-Arribas y E. Boemo, Evaluación de un Algoritmo de Locomoción de Robots Ápodos en Diferentes Procesadores Embebidos en FPGA, V Jornadas de Computacion Reconfigurable y Aplicaciones. JCRA 2005. Dentro del Primer Congreso Espanol de Informatica, CEDI 2005, pp. 109-116. Granada, Septiembre 2005. I.S.B.N: 84-9732-439-0 (PDF) (En línea en Scribd) (Más Información)
Gonzalez-Gomez, J, Aguayo E. and Boemo E.,Locomotion of a Modular Worm-like Robot using a FPGA-based embedded MicroBlaze Soft-processor, Proc. of the 7th International Conference on Climbing and Walking Robots, CLAWAR 2004, pp. 869-878, CSIC, Madrid (spain). September, 2004. I.S.B.N: 3-540-22992-2. (PDF) (On-line in Scribd) (More Information)
González-Gómez, J, Aguayo E. y Boemo E.,Locomoción de un Robot Ápodo Modular con el Procesador MicroBlaze, IV Jornadas sobre Computación Reconfigurable y Aplicaciones, JCRA04, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenierías. Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Septiembre 2004, pp. 675-681. I.S.B.N: 846887667-4. (PDF) (En línea en Scribd) (Más Información)

More information

About modules

Firmware for modular robots

Other workshops on modular robots

  • Training on modular snake robots. General information
  • 05/March/2011: Training on modular snake robots given at National Robotics & Intelligent Systems Center. King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST). Riyadh. Saudi Arabia
(More information)
  • 22/Julio/2010: Jugando con Robots modulares. Taller de robots modulares. Campus científico de Verano. Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
(Más información)

About 3D printers

About opensource tools for 3D design




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  • Cristina Urdiales: Thanks you very much for inviting me to Malaga to give this lecture!
  • Manuel Fernández Carmona: Thank you very much for all your help and technical support!
  • Granada imprusa team: Juan Robles de Toro, José María Torralba, Federico Coca Caba and Juan Carlos Joya Clarés. Thank you very much for your help, your wonderful present and your donation!  :-)
  • Enrique Norro Gañan: From Dpto. Electrónica del IES Politécnico Jesús Marín and organizer of Malakabot. Thank you very much for help, your wonderful board for controlling the robot and all the pictures and videos!


  • 20/oct/2013: First version is ready!
  • 08/Sep/2013: This page is started

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