Words

In writing this blog I use some words I have made up all by myself! I do that to summarise concepts and to make it easier to read and write. But I think it is best if I explain myself a bit. Especially since the confusion in the terminology in this area is significant, and in some cases I even dare to go against the consensus.

This is definitely a work in progress, and that is perfectly natural.  For example, it took Paul Graham 8 years of blogging on start-ups before he found a good name for describing the most important characteristics of a good founder, Be Relentlessly Resourceful. As I understand it, he discovers the name while writing a post on How to Be an Angel Investor. So if I just keep writing about SRCMR, many interesting words are going to come to me!

 
Action Radius is the distance that is meaningful to travel to perform a task or exploit an opportunity. It will be a shorter distance for smaller tasks and opportunities, and longer for bigger ones. It’s simply the distance you are willing to travel to do something. This effectively determines what you can do. If a task or an opportunity is not within your Action Radius, you cannot/ do not want to do it.

Behaviour, Solution Behavior, Feature Behavior
This is the dynamic part of a solution. It moves and responds to internal software or external stimuli.

Discrete Components
This is what I call parts that are not units, but are integrated in a solution. Basically, they do something we can’t do with units or something that is more convenient to do with an old school product integrated into a solution. This is not related to the homogeneous or heterogeneous issue, and I do not use it to describe special units, for instance sensor units, or units with a special task within the solution.

Sets
This is a group of units, but there are so many types that this word has it’s own post.

SRCMR
Short for Self Re-Configuring Modular Robotics. This is the area this blog focuses on. However, I must say that I am far from satisfied with this name for the field. A better, shorter one is badly needed, so feel free to send me any suggestions you have!

Old School Products (OSP)
Products not made up of units (the ones we are used to now…). Objects with a small scope, made of parts that are highly specialized.

Solutions
This is a set of units and software that addresses a specific task, as in “A solution for a need”. It is somewhat related to a old school product, as they may have the end-result in common.

Units
This is what I call the smallest complete part, similar to atoms. By others, they are usually called:

  • Claytoms
  • Foglets
  • Modules
  • Cells

I think that units are better for many reasons:

  • It is better then Claytoms and Foglets because it isn’t associated with any name for the whole concept.
  • It is better then Modules because it is not as general and widely used so there is less risk for confusion.
  • It is better then Cells because it is not associated with biology, and therefore avoids the obvious possibility for confusion.

Unit Storage Solution (USS)
I use this as the name for the solution where unused units go to be stored

Implement
I use implement to describe the process of changing from one solution to another. It is used in many situations, like to implement a solution is naturally to create that solution from the beginning. You can also talk about implementing a feature , the implementation time , the implementation process etc.

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