Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Shape-shifting robot forms from magnetic swarm

The grand goal is to create swarms of microscopic robots capable of morphing into virtually any form by clinging together.

Seth Goldstein, who leads the research project at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, in the US, admits this is still a distant prospect.

However, his team is using simulations to develop control strategies for futuristic shape-shifting, or "claytronic", robots, which they are testing on small groups of more primitive, pocket-sized machines.

These prototype robots use electromagnetic forces to manoeuvre themselves, communicate, and even share power.

The potential here fairly boggles the mind. For example, imagine a "claytronic" humanoid robot; there's no theoretical reason it couldn't approximate the abilities of a comic book superhero.

If we're being visited by extraterrestrials, I'd imagine they'd take advantage of similar technology. Little green men? Hardly. Unless, of course, they wanted to look like little green men.


Anonymous said...

A claytronic green man? You mean Gumby?

Anonymous said...

Shades of T2. When the nano-bots are configured to shape-shift, will they also be programmed with the trickster operating system?

Anonymous said...

T2 occurred to me too. I especially like the scene near the end when the quicksilver-like bad-guy robot gets frozen and broken into little pieces by a liquid nitrogen spill and then, when the pieces thaw, reassembles itself. That scene definitely stuck in my mind....

Anonymous said...

I find myself in agreement here with what Mac describes as a potential that fairly boggles the mind.

It boggles and at the same time strangely makes sense of the enormous range of witnessed phenomenon constantly reported.


Anonymous said...

I had an abduction "dream" once where I was taken to an empty circular metallic room. When my hosts finally joined me, they proceeded to move around the room touching the walls and floors. As they did so, strange machines grew from the floor itself. They became increasingly complex as they evolved into their static form. This was high magic that I could not comprehend.

When I awoke it dawned on me that this kind of thing could potentially be created using some high level order of nanotechnology.

Just a tid-bit :)