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MIT Researchers Came Up With Self-assembling Robotic Cubes

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Ankita Pareek
Ankita Pareek
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MIT researchers first developed its self-assembling “M-Block” robotic cubes in 2013. Now, this week, researchers shared the latest video named robotic cube M-Blocks 2.0.

Researchers from Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)MIT, announced this latest development, they developed self-assembling robotic cubes dubbed M-Block 2.0. These robotic blocks are capable of climbing and rolling across the ground.

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This new project on Robotic cubes is the second version of the project unveiled by MIT back in 2013. Similar to the first version of the MIT robotic cube blocks, M-Blocks 2.0 also move by generating momentum with an internal flywheel.

The new iteration of M-block

These new M-Block cubes communicate with one another using a “barcode-like system” present on each face of the cube. This system is of help for performing various tasks like forming a line or following a path.

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Furthermore, each M-Block has a flywheel that does 20,000 revolutions per minute. Permanent magnets are equipped so that cubes can attach to each other. These robotic cubes M-Blocks are designed in such a manner that they can be used in disaster management situations.

More interestingly, researchers proved it in a way that, these cubes can form the staircase whenever needed for rescue operations.

According to a lead author of the research paper:

The unique thing about our approach is that it’s 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. – John Romanishin

Researchers did researched by scattering these blocks randomly; 99% of the blocks were capable of forming a proper line.

MIT Researchers also said this on the time of their first project that:

Imagine a burning building where a staircase has disappeared. In the future, you can envision simply throwing M-Blocks on the ground, and watching them build out a temporary staircase for climbing up to the roof, or down to the basement to rescue victims.

These robotic M-blocks 2.0 may be of great use in the future in disaster management.

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