Archinect - News 2014-07-30T03:07:25-04:00 http://archinect.com/news/article/83383390/mit-develops-self-assembling-modular-robots MIT develops self-assembling modular robots Amelia Taylor-Hochberg 2013-10-04T18:49:00-04:00 >2013-10-04T18:50:07-04:00 <img src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/2l/2lw0ty8j5ms3pl38.jpg" width="514" height="313" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Known as M-Blocks, the robots are cubes with no external moving parts. Nonetheless, they&rsquo;re able to climb over and around one another, leap through the air, roll across the ground, and even move while suspended upside down from metallic surfaces [...] As with any modular-robot system, the hope is that the modules can be miniaturized: the ultimate aim of most such research is hordes of swarming microbots that can self-assemble, like the &ldquo;liquid steel&rdquo; androids in the movie &ldquo;Terminator II.&rdquo;</p></em><br /><br /><p> MIT, you've done it <a href="http://archinect.com/news/article/80141432/mit-accelerates-multi-material-3d-printing-software" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">again</a>. And <a href="http://archinect.com/news/article/80158350/magical-sesame-ring-opens-gates-of-public-transit" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">again</a>. A team at CSAIL, MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, has developed M-Blocks -- robotic cubes that can self-assemble into practically any configuration, through a system of carefully aligned magnets and flywheels. Even at their current scale (about the size of an apricot), the M-Blocks could be used to "fill-in" damaged bridges or buildings in an emergency, or serve as adaptive support systems in construction.</p> <p> But the smaller the blocks can be built, the more versatile their application -- and the more subtle their shapes. Think of a semi-liquid material that can be poured onto the floor and then spring into the shape of a chair, in whatever design you prefer.&nbsp;The modules could also be outfitted with individual components, like cameras or thermometers, to perform a specific function in the horde.</p> <p> Check out the videos below to see the M-blocks in action.</p>