Wednesday, 04 Apr, 2012 Technology
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Soon We Could Print Out Custom-Designed Robots

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The National Science Foundation has offered a $10 million grant for a project called "An Expedition in Computing for Compiling Printable Programmable Machines" that was initiated by a team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University.

The idea of the project is to create a real moving robot using 3D printing technology. So far it was estimated that about 5 years are required to create a functioning machine, but researchers hope that the whole process of building a robot through printing would be automated.

The team hopes that one day any ordinary person will be able to use a custom platform to detect a household issue that is to be solved, then find a printing store where they will be able to choose the necessary robot from a catalogue.

With the help of an interface, the user would customize the selected design of the robot so that it would suit their needs. In just a day their origami-like machine would be built using a 3D printer and programmed to carry out the task they need.

At the moment researchers are working on design interface, user-friendly programming language, various programs that could be used to build robots, and more.

It would be interesting to note that the team has already managed to create two prototypes machines able to design, print and program a robot the size of an insect and a gripping instrument for the disabled. The robots were made from PEEK, a thermoplastic.

Check out the video below to see the robot in action.

[via MIT] Powered by www.infoniac.com

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