28 May '12, 2pm

Smart Pebble Robots Will Let You Duplicate Objects on the Fly

Imagine that you could toss an object such as a wrench into a container filled with tiny robots and, within seconds, the robots would "sense" the shape of the wrench and bind to each other to form a replica of the tool. Creating robots that could turn this sci-fi-like scenario into reality is the goal of an MIT team led by Professor Daniela Rus. They call the technology Smart Sand. The project still has a long way to go. The robots the researchers have developed consist of relatively large cubes, each 12 millimeters on a side, but the team hopes to be able to shrink the modules in the future. In the mean time, the group is addressing another challenge: How to convey the shape of an object to lots of modules that have limited computational resources. At this year's IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) , in St Paul, Minn., Kyle Gilpin, one of the r...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hard...

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