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:
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.