Watch these modular robots transform into a chair
Watch these modular robots transform into a chair
3:13

Watch these modular robots transform into a chair

Science
These mini modular robots can configure themselves to make move or enhance furniture. [MUSIC] They're called room bots. And they're made by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology liaison for EFL for short. These autonomous rollable stackable robotic orbs can lock onto each other to form a variety of shapes. And perform a variety of functions. They're still in the proof of concept stage of development, but the possibilities are literally limitless. A recent video released by the EPFL shows the robots autonomously assembling into a chair, with an occasional human assist to nudge them into position or change batteries. Think about the potential here, especially for folks with limited living space. Someday instead of awkwardly pulling a chair at a storage when you've got company, you can just call in your room box to make an extra chair for you right there on the spot. They could probably make moving a whole lot easier too. The room box also can light up. In case you need help finding them in the dark, or you just want some modular furniture that can turn up. Another potential use of these robots is that they can help modify and enhance existing furniture. For example, you could enable a table to pick a pen off the floor and keep itself level over slopes. And stairs. When it comes to chairs, robots can push one around by rolling on the ground to follow you or stay out of your hair. For some of these experiments, the robots work in conjunction with a Microsoft Kinect camera, enabling the robots to move in reaction to the movements of a person. These robots aren't the only modular robots currently in development. MIT's M -blocks 2.0 connect to each other using magnets and use a bar code type system to identify one another. Inside the blocks. Flywheel capable of 20,000 rotations per minute. When a brake is applied to the flywheel, it creates the momentum that moves the blocks. While these modular robots don't yet appear to be as dexterous as some other robots which were designed to perform specific tasks The appeal of modular robots is that they could be deployed in cases where the exact type of robotic assistance required is hard to predict. For example, the MIT engineers behind the M-blocks envision them potentially being used to aid in disaster response, perhaps being put to work rebuilding a part of a staircase that was damaged so rescue workers could have easier access. Similarly to EP FL envisions the room bots might be a space saver in small apartments, or a way to enhance furniture to assist people with limited mobility. In addition to their potential earthly uses. Modular robots could also play an important role in building a future for humans in space. space in a NASA contest aimed at designing a home for astronauts on Mars architecture firm hassel envisioned modular robots arriving long before the first astronauts to get a head start on building a base camp. Of course, modular robots with these types of capabilities are years if not decades away. But these early prototypes certainly proved that, like the humans that created them, these modular robots can accomplish a whole lot more when they work together. As always, thanks so much for watching. I'm your host, Jesse Whirl. Stay safe out there, everybody.

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