Smart sand & robot pebbles

January 9th, 2013 by admin software

MIT News – April 2, 2012 Imagine that you have a big box of sand in which you bury a tiny model of a footstool. A few seconds later, you reach into the box and pull out a full-size footstool: The sand has assembled itself into a large-scale replica of the model. That may sound like a scene from a Harry Potter novel, but it’s the vision animating a research project at the Distributed Robotics Laboratory (DRL) at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. At the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in May — the world’s premier robotics conference — DRL researchers will present a paper describing algorithms that could enable such “smart sand.” They also describe experiments in which they tested the algorithms on somewhat larger particles — cubes about 10 millimeters to an edge, with rudimentary microprocessors inside and very unusual magnets on four of their sides. Unlike many other approaches to reconfigurable robots, smart sand uses a subtractive method, akin to stone carving, rather than an additive method, akin to snapping LEGO blocks together. A heap of smart sand would be analogous to the rough block of stone that a sculptor begins with. The individual grains would pass messages back and forth and selectively attach to each other to form a three-dimensional object; the grains not necessary to build that object would simply fall away. When the object had served its purpose, it would be returned to the heap. Its constituent grains
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25 Responses to “Smart sand & robot pebbles”

  1. Comment by Matrix29bear

    YOUTUBE[ Human Dog Invasion of the Body Snatchers ]
    YOUTUBE[ Invasion of the Body Snatchers clip, the transformation ]

  2. Comment by Matrix29bear

    1:09 — Matthew Bennell: [Elizabeth and Matthew are captured by alien plant body snatcher copies of humans in the Health Department office. Kibner gives them sedatives, so that they can be snatched while asleep] Listen, we’re not the last humans left. There are people who will fight you. They will find out what you’re doing here.
    Elizabeth Driscoll: They’ll stop you.
    Dr. David Kibner: In an hour… you won’t want them to. In an hour, you’ll be one of us.

  3. Comment by VIPrtn

    Our Lord JESUS CHRIST is the light of the world. Whoever follows Him will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. Follow Jesus and you will be saved !

  4. Comment by AshrafSpore

    We need Carter or maybe Rodney.

  5. Comment by 1Shatter1

    lol throwing your coffee tables at couches, I finally have an excuse!!! :D

  6. Comment by 1Shatter1

    nope, the world would run differently, instead of buying a product, you would download it and your smart pebbles(catoms) would create it -michio kaku

  7. Comment by guaii

    Good god man… learn to spell.

  8. Comment by bopitnews

    Wow very interesting and easy to understand


  9. Comment by x89codered89x

    I don’t exactly see how this algorithm translates into physical blocks copying an object… I think a full blown demonstration is in order.

  10. Comment by Revegeance


  11. Comment by caigenproject

    if they manage to scale the pebbles down to the size of granes it might be very interresting. certainly if you can store a certain form in the memory of the pebbles. you could make all your furniture of these grains and if you have friends over you can throw your coffee table to your 2- seat sofa and bam! you have a 5-seat sofa. and when you and your friends come home from the pub you press a button to rearrange your sofa as a guest bed.

  12. Comment by alkorz

    Uhm, Doctor Who: Teselecta :P

  13. Comment by TheBreakingMPLS


  14. Comment by YashPwnter

    stop trying to ruin EVERYTHING.

  15. Comment by chris chung

    I don’t understand what the hell this is. This is a damned video because only smart techies will understand what all those blinking boxes are doing… I need something less abstract and more normal-people friendly.

  16. Comment by Thegeeksquadofone

    I see this being used to replicate home silverware, furniture, tools, dishes, and other things; and I I can’t wait till it is ready for personal use!!!  :D

  17. Comment by Thegeeksquadofone

    But no one know who he is! Everyone knows about Replicators in Stargate (yeah right.)! ;)

  18. Comment by bighands69

    I would have to disagree.

    The are more like the universal constructor that von Neumann proposed.

    Von Neunmann proposed them before Reese did.

  19. Comment by bighands69

    This is not piracy as there is no boats insight.


    This system is used to build boat but then there would be no pirates on them.

  20. Comment by Thegeeksquadofone

    It’s like Replicators from Stargate and replicators from Star Trek COMBINED! :D

  21. Comment by Thegeeksquadofone

    I was thinking the same thing when I saw this! XD

  22. Comment by PeaceRequiresAnarchy

    I love the two sarcastic top comments. Stephan Kinsella’s “Against Intellectual Property” is a recommended work.

  23. Comment by Poseyjn

    Isn’t this how the world almost ended a few times in Stargate with the replicators?

  24. Comment by murph1329

    looks like a lot of recursive logic to me

  25. Comment by I0o

    I have a better concept then this

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