Spray-Foam Robot Built By... Another Robot

Take a look at this video of a robot creating a robot. A product of the GRASP lab at the University of Pennsylvania, it sprays foam onto CkBot Robot Modules to create a variety of new robots for a variety of different purposes.


(Spray-Foam Robot Built By... Robot)

Normally, when robots are designed there is a specific task in mind. Once that task is specified, the designer can choose an appropriate robot shape for performing the task well. Yet for many robotic missions this approach is insufficient. There is a class of missions that by their very nature are Unknown Challenge Missions. In these missions, we must commit robot hardware to the task before knowing exactly what it is that these robots must do. Examples include disaster recovery and other first response tasks, intelligence gathering missions, troop support missions against an adapting adversary, and planetary exploration.

One of the key claims of modular robotics is to allow robots to be quickly adapted to unanticipated task requirements after being deployed to the field. Modular robots aim to address this requirement by having many modules from a small set of module types, that can be rearranged into a robot morphology to accomplish the desired task. Observing that such systems often assume that the robot body will be constructed of modules, which are generally heavy and expensive we suggest a less costly and more mechanically efficient alternative: constructing robot body part from self-hardening foam.

The spray-foam robots remind me of the android 'blanks' (malleable foam outside, circuits inside) used to create duplicates of your favorite Star Trek characters in the episode titled What Little Girls Are Made Of.


(An android blank from Star Trek)

In the Star Trek episode, these robots were also created by other robots.

From via Wired.

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