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Self-Transforming Robot Blocks Jump, Spin, Flip, Identify Each Other

By MIT News

November 7, 2019

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Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed self-assembling robotic cubes that can climb over and around one another, leap through the air, and roll across the ground.

The robots, called "M-Blocks," can "communicate" with each other using a barcode-like system on each face of the cube that allows the modules to identify each other.

The autonomous fleet has a total of 16 blocks, which together can form a line, follow arrows, or track light.

Each modular M-Block is equipped with a flywheel that moves at 20,000 revolutions per minute, using angular momentum when the flywheel is braked.

Each edge and every face of the blocks are permanent magnets that let any two cubes attach to each other.

Said CSAIL researcher John Romanishin, "Other robotic systems have much more complicated movement mechanisms that require many steps, but our system is more scalable."

From MIT News
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