Interesting progress in automated building by truss manipulation

I found this interesting video that shows the strength of the two-type heterogeneous
modular robotic system. The two-type (or N-type) of modules system is a type of
SRCMR system that I really like. It consists of two (or more) categories of units.
One type is complex and contains sensors, computation and actuation, and the other
type is more basic (this is in line with the ensemble axiom).

As far as I understand, this system consists of three modules one metabolising robot,
one truss module and one node module. The metabolising robot is the complex module
in this system where all sensors computation and actuation is concentrated. The trusses
attach to the node module and those two module types form the more basic building blocks.

I also like the metabolism concept that this system uses, where trusses, and I presume nodes,
are moved from one part of a structure to anther to transform it from one overall shape
(what you had, but didn’t need any more) to another (what you need going forward).

When looking at the video I am struck by how good the system seems to work. It can naturally
climb finished structures (in this case a chair), but it can also move in unfinished structures
that are much less stable, rigid and predictable. This is of course necessary to build structures
and it is something I have not seen before.

The researchers say that they are working on making the metabolising robot able to carry
the building blocks with it as it traverses the structure. That would be very interesting to see,
it would also be interesting to see a structure that could store trusses and nodes in a compact
way as that would allow the structure to change its size.

Another fundamental thing I would love to see is the introduction of a flat surface piece that could
form a continuous surface. I think that surfaces are such a critical addition, that when we have a
system that can create structures (which this system seems to be able to do already)
and add surfaces to them we will have a basic system, useful for many things.

You can find more information here:
http://www.jeremyblum.com/portfolio/machine-metabolism/

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