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.


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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