Thursday, September 29, 2005

New biological robots build chains

By Ker Than
Updated: 3:10 p.m. ET Sept. 28, 2005

Inspired by biological systems, scientists have developed miniature robots that can self-assemble using parts that float randomly in their environments. The robots also know when something is amiss and can correct their own mistakes.

To artificially recreate this process, a research team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), headed by Joseph Jacobson, created robots capable of latching onto one another in specific sequences.

The robots come in two colors, yellow (Y) and green (G), and float around on a cushion of air like pucks on an air hockey table. Each robot is programmed to latch onto a green robot on one side and a yellow robot on the other to form 5-robot strings such as YGGYY or GYYGG.

The robots also have a built-in mechanism to correct any errors they might make. Each robot is able to check the color of its neighboring block and will unlatch itself if the sequence is not correct.

The study is detailed in the Sept. 29 issue of the journal Nature.

New biological robots build themselves - LiveScience -


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