Each M-block has a flywheel that rotates at 20,000 revolutions per minute (RPM), and uses angular momentum from a break to move around. These blocks use a built-in magnet to stick to each other and form a robust structure.
Romanishin, the new paperís lead author says this unique approach is inexpensive and easier to scale to a million modules:
"The unique thing about our approach is that itís inexpensive, robust, and potentially easier to scale to a million modules. M-Blocks can move in a general way. Other robotic systems have much more complicated movement mechanisms that require many steps, but our system is more scalable and cost-effective."
In his amazing 1920 short story The Metal Monster, Abraham Merritt imagines a robot that is constructed of smaller metal pieces able to move on their own.
Faster the cubes moved; faster the circle revolved; the pyramids raised themselves, stood bolt upright on their square bases; the six rolling spheres touched them, joined the spinning, and with sleight-of-hand suddenness the ring drew together; its units coalesced, cubes and pyramids and globes threading with a curious suggestion of ferment.
(Read more about Abraham Merritt's living metal cubes)
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/5/2019)