txchnologist:

Robot Self-Assembles And Walks

by Michael Keller

Roboticists have developed a flat machine that can fold itself into an operational form and take a walk. 

Built mostly from paper and polystyrene plastic that shrinks into a memorized shape when heated, the robot can assemble in around four minutes. It can crawl at roughly 2 inches per second and make turns. The work by Harvard and MIT engineers represents the first time that a robot has self-assembled and performed a function without humans needing to intervene.  

“Here we created a full electromechanical system that was embedded into one flat sheet,” said Harvard Microrobotics Lab researcher and doctoral student Sam Felton. “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.”

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zerostatereflex:

Squishy Robots

"A new phase-changing material built from wax and foam developed by researchers at MIT is capable of switching between hard and soft states."

MIT researchers are trying to change the paradigm of your typical robot by mimicking organic substances. The idea is that the robot should be soft to conform to a particular environment, and interact with humans, though rigid enough to actually do a procedure. They can achieve this by applying heat at particular points to deform the object, then applying coolness to make the object rigid again. 

"Robots built from this material would be able to operate more like biological systems with applications ranging from difficult search and rescue operations, squeezing through rubble looking for survivors, to deformable surgical robots that could move through the body to reach a particular point without damaging any of the organs or vessels along the way."

The last gif is a example of bendable articulation. :D 

I really want some of this material in our lab.

science-junkie:

Lego Cubestormer robot solves Rubik’s Cube in less time than it takes to read this headline
The time to beat is now 3.253 seconds. 
Video [x]

A Czechoslovak-made industrial robot from the 80’s. It is equipped with an old-school cassette-tape player running its instructions program. It is still functional too!

(National Robotics Center, Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava)