Self-Assembling Robots Could Revolutionize Manufacturing
Researchers at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms are designing robots that effectively self-assemble.
The team admits that the goal of an autonomous self-building robot is still “years away,” but the work has thus far demonstrated positive results. At the system’s center are voxels (a term borrowed from computer graphics), which carry power and data that can be shared between pieces. The pieces form the foundation of the robot, grabbing and attaching additional voxels before moving across the grid for further assembly.
One of the primary challenges the team is facing is creating a control system for the robots that is both scalable and generalizable. That is, they need to be able to control a large number of robots without having to design a unique control system for each one. Additionally, the control system must be able to handle a wide variety of tasks, from simple movements to more complicated functions like assembly.
The team has made progress on both fronts. They have developed a control system that can handle a large number of robots and a variety of tasks. Additionally, they have demonstrated that their system can be used to assemble a range of different objects, including a chair and a table.
While the team admits that there is still a lot of work to be done, they are optimistic about the potential of their work. They believe that their approach could one day lead to the development of robots that can autonomously self-assemble in a wide range of environments, including manufacturing plants, construction sites, and even our homes. Maybe one day they will be self assembling on the moon.