timothy from the all-hail-the-bender-units dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "In an article named "Puckish robots pull together," Nature describes the work done at the Polymorphic Robotics Laboratory (PRL) of the University of Southern California on self-reconfigurable teams of robots. There, Wei-Min Shen and his colleagues simulate the absence of gravity by creating a 2D representation of space by using an 'air-hockey table.' With jets of air flow blowing on the surface, the 30 cm-wide robots, working in pairs, evolve in a frictionless environment, pick elements such as girders to assemble structures like if they were in space. NASA will use these teams of autonomous robots to build space systems like 10 km-long arrays of solar panels and other huge spatial structures. You'll find more details, illustrations and references in this overview."
We don't know who it was that discovered water, but we're pretty sure
that it wasn't a fish.
-- Marshall McLuhan