I bet most of you have seen the Iron Man movies, where the scattered robotic pieces come together to form a robotic Iron Man suit. Why I’m saying this is that the time is not long when you’ll see similar robotic cubes joining themselves to form structures like bridges, repairing buildings or scaffolding.
The process has already begun as three researchers at MIT are developing robotic cubes which can roll, jump, fly and join themselves together to form variety of structures. They call it M-Blocks. Researcher John Romanishin, Daniela Rus and Kyle Gilpin are working on these M-Blocks which is based on electro-mechanic theory and magnetism.
M-Blocks contains electronic circuits, a motor driven flywheel and magnets which helps them to roll, fly and join to each other. As you’ve seen in Iron Man or Transformers, like many small robotic parts come together to form a robotic suit or may be a giant robot, the same is happening here too. The M-blocks play with each other as if they’ve minds and join themselves to form structures.
The electronics of M-Blocks help them to orient themselves, while the flywheel (which can spin at max 20,000 rpm) makes the blocks fly and magnets on the face of these blocks help them to join. In this case, cylindrical magnets are used in the M-blocks to make sure that north-pole meets south-pole. The magnets are self revolving, so that when two north-poles face each other, with the repelling forces the magnet will turn until the north & south poles face one another. John Romanishin stated in a press release that they’re going to make more than 100 of such cubes. They plan to scatter them across a floor to identify themselves and join with each other to form structures like chair, desk or a ladder.
Here is a video of M-Blocks, for your enjoyment:
News and Pictures via Gizmag