Self-Assembling Robot Technology
For years science-fiction has filled our minds with dreams of robots that will be able to make our lives easier, and now these dreams are becoming reality. Researchers at MIT have developed a one centimetre squared origami robot, made almost entirely out of liquid-soluble plastics. When heated, the robot folds itself into shape, and can then complete a variety of tasks, before disposing of itself.
The robot is powered by a small magnet, and controlled remotely by programming an electromagnetic field. This allows the robot to follow a predetermined path, making it ideal for fine transport in difficult to reach or narrow spaces. In addition to this, the robot can carry up to twice its weight, and cross over water or dig through small obstructions. Future plans for the robot include experimenting with electrically conductive materials, and ways for the robot to act independently and solve problems.
While it will definitely be some time before we see this sort of technology popping up in Melbourne, the team behind this technology have already started working towards finding practical uses for their little robot. In the short-term, they plan to move the robot into medical fields, suggesting it be used as a remote controlled tablet, that can target particular areas to dispense drugs before dissolving and removing itself from the body.
Generally, the robot is ideal for close inspection, in any fields. While it could be used to view the inside of a human body, it could also be sent into an engine to inspect damage internally, or down a drain to locate lost items of points of damage. The small size and flexibility of this robot create exciting possibilities, even for casual use. As 3D printing becomes increasingly popular, imagine if the plastic of the robot could soon be printed, and used in the home!
See the robot live in action below.
The folding body of the robot is dissolvable
The Robot is able to swim and move twice it's weight