Skylar Tibbits and Self-Assembly Systems

Skylar Tibbits, a researcher at MIT, gave a talk back in February on Self-Assembly Systems (think Replicators from Stargate). This talk was just recently posted to TED‘s website. Skylar believes that there are 4 main components to the process of Self-Assembly:

1.   Decoded Assembly Sequence

  • Being able to break apart the process of what you want to build, into smaller simpler processes. This is very similar to any object-oriented programming where you want to break apart complex tasks into smaller “self-contained” tasks which can then be easily processed.

2.   Programmability of Parts

  • This references the actual physical pieces that would be able to take the above Assembly Sequences and physically adjust themselves per the instructions.

3.   Energy for Actuation

  • A power source of some sort (presumably very tiny, or possibly wireless, although in the video they appear to be hard-wired) that would power the Programmable parts from process 3.

4.   Error Correction

  • An audit system (wether internal or external was not made clear). This would be the measure that makes sure that the end result matches the intended specifications.

Just like the 4 components, Skylar gave 4 examples of projects that MIT has been working on:

Macrobot and Decibot – Large scale, reconfigurable robots.  Instructions are broken down into a series of angles or turns, which are then passed to each section of the bot.

Logic Matter – Uses NAND Gate Physical Computing where the digital logic gate is directly embedded into the individual parts.

Biased Chains – Passive Self-Assembly Systems.

While Skylar doesn’t really go into detail on the Energy or Error Correction of the process (but what do you expect in under 6 minutes?)  he does go over the programmability of the pieces. The whole video is very intriguing and will definitely have me on alert for any future projects attached to his name.

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About additionaddiction

My thoughts on life, atheism, science, and the human race

Posted on September 8, 2011, in Robotics, Videos and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Very cool, Video was kinda lack lusterd for a TED Talk IMO.

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