More unsettling news from the impending robot revolution: A team of engineers has built a robot that for the first time assembles itself and crawls away - all without any human intervention.
Accomplishing this first step in a robot's autonomous self-assembly and mobility is a huge achievement in and of itself. The applications for cheaply built, sophisticated machines that interact with their environment are still in the realm of the imagination, though.
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"Imagine a ream of dozens of robotic satellites sandwiched together so that they could be sent up to space and then assemble themselves remotely once they get there - they could take images, collect data and more," said Sam Felton, a PhD candidate at Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Felton is the lead author of a paper published today Science.
Felton worked with engineers and computer scientists from Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences as well as the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They were inspired by instances of self-assembly in nature, such as amino acids that fold themselves into complex proteins.