New Terminator-style ’bots can self-assemble, leap, climb and SWARM
2013 10 07

From: theregister.co.uk



Rise of The Machines Roboticists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have devised a range of self-assembling cube robots, which have no external moving parts.

Despite their lack of limbs, the M-Blocks can climb over and around each other, jump into the air, roll around and even move when hanging upside down - all thanks to an inner flywheel.

The flywheel can reach speeds of 20,000rpm and when the robot cube puts the brakes on, it gives itself angular momentum. Added to this are magnets on the edges and faces of the bots that allow them to attract to each other.

“It’s one of these things that the [modular-robotics] community has been trying to do for a long time,” said Daniela Rus, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science and director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). “We just needed a creative insight and somebody who was passionate enough to keep coming at it - despite being discouraged.”

Self-assembling cube-bots are already around, but those similar to M-Blocks tend to be more complex, with bits sticking out of them and a range of motors. These all allow the robots to be "statically stable", meaning that you can pause any of their movements at any time and they’ll stay put. M-Blocks are different because they give up the ability to put things on pause.

"There’s a point in time when the cube is essentially flying through the air,” said postdoc Kyle Gilpin. “And you are depending on the magnets to bring it into alignment when it lands. That’s something that’s totally unique to this system.”

To compensate for the robots’ instability, each edge of the cube has two cylindrical magnets mounted like rolling pins, which can naturally rotate to align poles and attach to any face of any other cube. The cubes’ edges are also bevelled to allow them to pivot. Smaller magnets sit under their faces so they can "snap" into place when they land.

As with any army of modular robots, the researchers’ ultimately hope that the M-Blocks’ simplified locomotion system can be miniaturised for maximum malleability in what they can create - like the liquid metal scenario in the Terminator movies.

The full study will be presented at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in November.

Source: theregister.co.uk



Related Articles
US robot builds copies of itself


Latest News from our Front Page

Left and their big fat multi-cultural lie
2014 08 30
Picture the scene; a taxi is pulled over by an officer from South Yorkshire Police who finds a half-naked 12-year-old in the back of the cab so drunk or drugged that she can hardly stand. When interviewed, the taxi driver is found to have pornographic pictures of the girl on his phone. The officer hands back the phone and – no ...
Rotherham - Child sacrifice to diversity god
2014 08 30
It is sad to see how the once great nation of England has fallen. Britain now rivals North Korea for totalitarian control. If you are White, the wrong word can send you to jail. If you are non-White you are free to rape and kill the native British with impunity. If Henry the VIII came back from the grave, he could ...
Hungary’s Orban Bashes Liberal Immigration Policy
2014 08 29
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Monday lashed out against immigration, setting one of the main policy objectives of his next term in power after winning parliamentary elections in April. “The goal is to cease immigration whatsoever,” said Hungary’s prime minister. “I think the current liberal immigration policy, which is considered obvious and morally based, is hypocrite,” Mr. Orban said. At a ...
China’s “Duplitecture” Cities Mimic the World’s Greatest Architectural Hits
2014 08 29
The best knockoffs in the world are in China. There are plenty of fake designer handbags and Rolexes, but China’s knockoffs go way beyond fashion. There are knockoff Apple stores that look so much like the real thing that some employees believe they are working in real Apple stores. And then there are entire knockoff cities. There are Venices with ...
Kiev loses control of Novoazovsk, rebel troops advance in southeast Ukraine
2014 08 29
Kiev’s troops had to leave the eastern Ukrainian city of Novoazovsk to save their lives, said the country’s Security and Defense Council. The authorities admitted that self-defense forces are advancing and leading a counteroffensive in the southeast. Along with Novoazovsk, Kiev troops have lost control over the villages of Amvrosiivka and Starobeshevo in the Donetsk Region of Eastern Ukraine. According to Ukraine’s ...
More News »