All
Projects
Products
Events
Competitions
  1. ArchDaily
  2. M Blocks

M Blocks: The Latest Architecture and News

MIT Researchers Propose Self-Assembling Robots as Future of Construction

00:00 - 6 October, 2013
MIT Researchers Propose Self-Assembling Robots as Future of Construction, An exposed prototype of the M-Block, a new modular robotic system . Image © M. Scott Brauer
An exposed prototype of the M-Block, a new modular robotic system . Image © M. Scott Brauer

Picture this: self-assembling blocks that, when given a task, have the ability to reorganize themselves into new geometries. 

This is precisely what research scientist, John Romanishin, at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has long envisioned for a near future — robotic modules known as M-Blocks. Romanishin has teamed with his professor, Daniela Rus, and colleague, postdoc Kyle Gilpin, to prototype robotic cubes with no external moving parts, able to climb over, around and even leap onto each other.

Till now, robots have depended on arms or attachments to move themselves. "We wanted a simpler approach," says Romanishin, that uses fewer moving parts. Inside each M-Block is a flywheel that spins at 20,000 revolutions per minute, creating enough angular momentum when it brakes that the blocks assemble themselves in new configurations. On each face and edge of the cubes are magnets, naturally connecting the cubes when spurred by the flywheel.

Learn more after the break...