Check out our shared gdrive folder, were we are discussing and proposing new ideas and concepts for the next version of the Dtto Modular Robot!

2016HackadayPrize Final Video

The problem

In most natural disaster situations, like hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, there are situations where people get trapped without the possibility to get out to safety by themselves. Then is when search and rescue operation teams come at play. Nowadays, most of the search and rescue operations are carried out by humans, needing a lot of specialized manpower and hours of work to look for possible survivors.

After working at Ground Zero on the WTC, Dr. Robin Murphy, Professor of Computer Science at University of South Florida, who was working with search and rescue robots, said:

“Robots proved helpful” ; “Using robots can minimize the number of personnel on site, and reduce the fatigue and errors” ; She sees mobile robots as scouts able to navigate, adapt and perceive. ; ”Robots will be manpackable” ; “so small that they can fit into small subhuman confines, able to tell their orientation as they snake throught open spaces in rubble” ; “...going where no human should go”

Source: (

How it works

In robotics, the usual approach for designing exploration robots is: First, study the terrain characteristics and then, designing a robot according to those needs. When moving trough an unexplored and unpredictable terrain like an earthquake affected building, you never know which kind of obstacles will you find. There is where modulars robots can do really well.

The Dtto Modular Robot has been designed with adaptability in mind. Inspired by how fire ants colonies work, a number of modules (or small robots) find each other, connect mechanically and colaborate to act as one only robot, creating a collective inteligence. They can link together and bulid structures without any central comand. The advantatge of being all modules the same is that, if one of them breaks, it can easily get replaced by another one, creating a self-healing structure.

By changing its configuration, the Dtto robot can move like a snake through a small pipeline, then transform into a wheel-like robot to move faster, then transform to a centipede robot when there is no vertical space and finally build a bridge to get to the other side of the hanging floor.


While looking for the minimum size, the robot is designed to contain almost all the electronics and motors in one half, so that there is a large free space in the other half.

That free space can be used to install a thermal camera, microphone and speakers, multiple sensors, more actuators (like grippers) or even more batteries.


Special thanks to Dr. Jose Luís Ramírez, and to Dr. Juan González-Gómez “Obijuan”, for their support and help everytime I needed it.

It has been fully printed with open-source 3D printers, uses open-source hardware and has been designed entirely on FreeCad.

This robot is Inspired by the MTRAN III, by The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan. (

The CAD files, and STL printing files are located in the FILES and in the github repository (

This project and all of it's files, images, videos and texts are entirely licensed under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license. (


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