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Self-Assembly

New components and techniques could allow robots to self-assemble when heated (Photo: MIT)

Lots of people make their own robots, and in all sorts of ways, but have you ever heard of anyone baking one in an oven? Researchers at MIT have demonstrated how to create self-assembling bodies that fold together when baked, as well as showing how a similar technique can be used to generate electronic components to control them.  Read More

A liquid crystal 'flower' under magnification (Photo: University of Pennsylvania)

Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have grown liquid crystal flowers, making it possible to create lenses as complex as the compound eye of a dragonfly. When perfected, the technology could allow the growth of lenses on curved surfaces, and structures to be assembled out of liquid crystals to build new materials, smart surfaces, microlens arrays and advanced sensors.  Read More

Prof. H. Jerry Qi with identical 4D-printed objects in their flat and folded states

Using a 3D printer, people can already determine the length, width and depth of an object that they create. Thanks to research being conducted at the University of Colorado, Boulder, however, a fourth dimension can now be included – time. And no, we're not talking about how long it takes to 3D-print an item. Instead, it's now possible to print objects that change their shape at a given time.  Read More

M-Blocks are able to roll, jump and join together (Photo: MIT)

Imagine if an army of completely flat-faced cubes could roll around and even jump on their own, joining with one another to form a variety of large-scale structures. Well, that's exactly what a team of robotics researchers at MIT are trying to turn into a reality – and they've already developed the cubes that could do it.  Read More

Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory is developing 2D objects that can give themselves an extr...

Sure, flat-pack furniture is inexpensive and easy to transport, but when you open the box the first question almost everyone asks is, “Wouldn't it be great if it would assemble itself?” You could get a robot to help, but engineers at the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory are working on ways to get objects to assemble themselves ... and they might give 3D printing a run for its money at the same time.  Read More

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