noMad Is a Modular Robotics System Comprised of Individual Units That Can Reconfigure Themselves

Some of the most formidable baddies in the Stargate: SG-1 TV series were the Replicators, which were robotic machines that could…

Cameron Coward
2 years agoRobotics

Some of the most formidable baddies in the Stargate: SG-1 TV series were the Replicators, which were robotic machines that could self-replicate and reconfigure themselves for specific tasks. Their ability to transform into whatever was necessary made them incredibly robust. But, while the Replicators are science fiction, the reconfigurable module concept is very real, and noMad is designed to take advantage of it.

Each noMad module is an octahedron that can rotate its faces to become an icosahedron, then an cuboctahedron, and then back to an octahedron. All of the individual self-contained unit can use that process to achieve rudimentary locomotion. But, the real magic happens when multiple modules are connected together to create more complex structures. A handful of modules can work in concert to become a highly mobile robot, or whatever else is necessary for a task.

If you take that idea to the logical extreme, you might end of with an ecosystem of hundreds — or thousands — of individual modules than can reconfigure themselves on demand. They could transform into rigid structures, or into worker bots that are tailored to their work. While noMad is still a concept, it appears that a handful of working modules have been built, and mathematical simulations prove the large-scale viability of the project. And, of course, you only need to look to science fiction to see the potential of reconfigurable robots.

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