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.
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.