Sometimes we cannot even spare 5 minutes to read an article, let alone 10 to watch a video. Here are the article's highlights:
- Developed at the Modular Robotics Laboratory in the University of Pennsylvania.
- A mothership robot assembles joint robots into a larger system with insulating, hard, foam.
- Onboard software figures out the best way to move the assembled system.
For those who do have time, continue below:
One of the pinnacles of robotics is when bots can build themselves. The Modular Robotics Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania has taken a major step towards replication with their new FoamBot. As what can be assumed from the name, it uses foam to build other types of bots, from a snake to a quadruped.
Project lead Shai Revzen, with is team, created FoamBot as a way to built robots with particular functions to complete specific jobs. The FoamBot system requires a "mothership" and joint module bots. The wheeled mothership will move the joint bots to their required positions and then apply a spray foam (hard urethane foam) to connect the modules together into the FoamBot superstructures. The foam itself is off the shelf insulation foam. The application mechanism uses a spring-clamp, and is guided by a laser pointer so the bot can track the position accurately.
The module bots, clusters, are pre assembled. The anchoring point for the foam are 5cm bolts sticking out of each end. After the clusters of the joints are connected, the software then attempts to figure out a control scheme to perform the task needed. For example, once built into the quadruped layout, the software makes a control routine that best allows the whole system to move. The assembled FoamBots can return to the mothership for modification.
The idea of FoamBot is to adapt to unanticipated task requirements. The only addition left is to make FoamBot fly, just foam in a quadcopter. Read more about FoamBot at the Penn website.