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Designing Customizable Self-Folding Swarm Robots


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The self-folding robot.

University of California, San Diego researchers say they are developing robotic swarms that can be self-deployed without human intervention.

Credit: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego say they are developing robotic swarms called bristlebots that can be rapidly customized, self-assembled, and self-deployed without human intervention.

They note the robots are laser-cut from flat sheets, can fold themselves up, and then move on their own with only the slightest amount of help from humans.

The team says the robots are more reliable than previous iterations of similar technology and have the potential to be easily customized for speed, maneuverability, and payload.

The bristlebots use vibration motors to shimmy themselves along flat surfaces at up to 23 centimeters a second in a straight line, and the motion characteristics of these bristlebots can be adjusted by changing the length of their legs, making them a good platform to experiment with design changes.

"Future work will investigate how the robot structure can be tailored to a given payload or environment," according to the researchers.

From IEEE Spectrum
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