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Programmable matter

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  • Surprisingly simple scheme for self-assembling robots

    Small cubes with no exterior moving parts can propel themselves forward, jump on top of each other, and snap together to form arbitrary shapes.

    October 4, 2013
  • How to make big things out of small pieces

    Researchers invent a new approach to assembling big structures — even airplanes and bridges — out of small interlocking composite components.

    August 15, 2013
  • The robotic equivalent of a Swiss army knife

    Reconfigurable robot a step toward something that can become almost anything.

    November 30, 2012
  • Self-sculpting sand

    New algorithms could enable heaps of ‘smart sand’ that can assume any shape, allowing spontaneous formation of new tools or duplication of broken mechanical parts.

    April 2, 2012
  • Shape-shifting robots

    Self-folding sheets of a plastic-like material point the way to robots that can assume any conceivable 3-D structure.

    August 5, 2010