We all know our robot overlords will take over the planet one day, right ? Known as M-Blocks, these cubes move with no external moving parts. The brain child of researchers at MIT, these little robot prototypes are able to climb over and around one another, leap through the air, roll across the ground, and even move while suspended upside down from metallic surfaces.
M-Block’s get their ability to move from a flywheel that can reach speeds of 20,000 RPM, and by braking at an exact point in time or position, the angular momentum is transferred to the cube and propels it. The effect is amazing. On each edge of an M-Block, and on every face, are cleverly arranged permanent magnets that allow any two cubes to attach to each other.
To compensate for its static instability, the researchers’ robot relies on some ingenious engineering. On each edge of a cube are two cylindrical magnets, mounted like rolling pins. When two cubes approach each other, the magnets naturally rotate, so that north poles align with south, and vice versa. Any face of any cube can thus attach to any face of any other.
Right now the cubes are controlled by commands given on a computer and wirelessly transmitted. In the future, the guys at MIT want to by able to instruct them to form a particular shape and for the M-blocks to work out the most efficient method of getting into position.
So given robots can build themselves now.. my only question is, how long do we have left?