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Researchers are developing robot swarms that turn into buildings, vehicles, and more

There are two schools of anticipation when it comes to architecture bridges. There’s the acceptable way involving humans accumulating abstracts to create a unique structure. And then there’s the way MIT and the US Army want to do it: you open a box and a bunch of Lego-style architecture bricks fly out and turn themselves into a bridge.

When those bricks – actually, more like chain snowflakes – get done being a bridge, they could be apart reconfigured to suit addition need such as acceptable a boat or a glider. They could also simply detach themselves and return to storage.

This might sound like article out of Neural’s Guide to the August Future of AI, but it’s absolutely absolutely ashore in abreast technology.

MIT and a US Army think-tank afresh appear a analysis paper account the development of a mass-producible, reconfigurable, metamaterial that could be used to create robots made out of robots.

According to the analysis team:

Here, we present a architecture system for automated metamaterials based on detached accumulation of a finite set of modular, banal parts. We authenticate experimentally the adapted metamaterial acreage for each part type and, accumulated with after clay results, affectation other abrupt and useful properties. A modular architecture scheme enables a range of automated metamaterial backdrop to be achieved, including rigid, compliant, auxetic, and chiral, all of which are accumulated with a constant action across part types, thereby accretion the functionality and accessibility of this approach.

That’s a long way of saying they’ve created a Lego-style kit of super-strong, easy-to-manipulate abstracts that can be banal bound and cheaply.

What started as an Army anticipation agreement to come up with the quickest, cheapest way for a robot swarm to build a bridge for troops turned into a vein of analysis with the abeyant to upend the field of construction.

The core claiming for quick-deploy architecture systems is addition out how to get the most out of each and every scrap of material. Under the accepted technology paradigm, for example, a small team of soldiers would need a array of cartage and alien abutment teams in order to cross long stretches of multi-faceted terrain.

MIT and the Army’s voxel-based architecture system aims to solve this problem. Through the use of appropriate AI-generated shapes at the cellular level, the system’s chain voxel pieces are like 3D-printed actual that doesn’t crave a printer to work with.

What’s even more absorbing is once architecture is complete, the pieces can be reconfigured into myriad other designs. Per the paper:

Quasi-static reconfigurability was approved through the assembly, disassembly, and reuse of macroscale (225-mm pitch) octahedral voxels. In that case, over 125 voxels were used to build a 5-m bridge able of captivation several hundred kilograms, then these were reconfigured into a boat, and then these were again reconfigured into a shelter. Scalability has been approved in prior work, where over 4000 injection-molded octahedral voxel units were accumulated into a 4.25-m wingspan ultralight filigree aerostructure.

While this analysis is still in its early phases, the ultimate goal is the accumulation of a set of self-assembling AI-powered architecture abstracts in the form of a adaptable robot swarm.

In theory, a group of soldiers could radio for a swarm and, about back at the rear echelon, a stack of architecture blocks would accept the signal and turn itself into an “ultralight filigree aerostructure” that could be alone into the battlespace via drone. Once on the ground, the abstracts could follow the soldiers around acceptable whatever vehicle, structure, or tool they needed.

You can read the full paper here on ScienceAdvances.

Appear November 19, 2020 — 21:24 UTC

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