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Posted by on Nov 30, 2012 in Technology |

MIT has robots capable of changing shape

MIT has robots capable of changing shape

In the second installment of the series Terminator , the protagonists are faced with a rather unique robot: the T-1000 , a robot that was able to take any form by changing the position of your body parts. While we are quite far from the T-1000 showed us films of Hollywood, it seems that the MIT begins to take its first steps in the development of reconfigurable able to take any form , an investigation that begins to bear fruit thanks to DARPA support.

The milli-motein, which is the name of this pre-robot developed at MIT, is a small device shaped like a caterpillar and made with metal rings inspired by the reconfiguration of proteins, ie, the ability to modify structure and take any shape. This robot, at rest, has the shape of a caterpillar or a worm, i.e. it is entirely straight, however, thanks to its structure and integrates the small motor is able to bend and take various forms (and keep them in the absence power).

The challenge faced by the researchers at is quite interesting and certainly serve as a starting signal for a new generation of robots much more flexible and adaptable. From a mechanized corps, MIT researchers had to approach the design of a new type of engine that would provide versatility to the device and a motor electro thought. What is an electro engine? A permanent electric engine consists of a pair of magnets, one very powerful fixed and a little weaker than it really is an electromagnet whose magnetic field can reverse playing with electrical excitation that is submitted. Depending on the electrical excitation to be submitted to the second magnet, the resulting magnetic field can be null or can be added with the added advantage that, once fixed the sense electromagnet, the assembly can continue operating without constant power .

Coupling these electromotors in small circular pieces, the robot is able to rotate the pieces and their shape change based on the different excitations receiving electric motors forming the mechanical structure of this worm.

While the concept may seem basic, this simplicity leads researchers to build more complex systems and, on the table, have already addressed the idea of scenarios in which several of these structures interact with each other to form structures more complex (coupling several of these mini-robots) while exploring how to adopt prefixed forms complying optimization requirements (minimum movements and minimum power in reshaping how robots).

The path that draws the MIT, relatively speaking, reminds me of the Replicators of Stargate SG-1 , ie small pieces that come together to adopt more complex structures emulating something complex patterns and MIT showed us a few months ago on another project quite unique in the small robots that joined to form complex parts.

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