May 24, 2012

ETH Zurich researchers are trying to design an intelligent robot that can use a hot glue gun to manufacture tools. In the video below they presented a self-reconfigurable robot capable of changing its body structures: the robot builds itself a cup, then it builds a handle and glues on to itself to transport and pour water from one container to another.

The building process is much like a low-tech 3D printer - it uses hot glue to form a base and sides of a cup one layer at a time. Printing such a cup was pre-programmed and it took half an hour to complete.

Spectrum explains the process:

  1. The robot uses hot melt adhesive(HMA) to construct the base and sides of a cup. The construction surface is aluminum, covered in a thin layer of oil to keep the HMA from sticking too much.
  2. While the cup cools (and solidifies), the robot builds a small bar out of HMA nearby and allows it to cool.
  3. When the bar has cooled sufficiently, the robot places a heating element against the bar, melting the bar onto itself. The heating element is turned off, and when the bar has cooled, the robot pulls it off of the construction surface.
  4. The robot adds a little dollop of HMA to the side of the cup, and then sticks the other end of the bar onto the cup and lets the HMA bond to itself.
  5. Finally, the robot pulls the bar and the attached cup off of the construction surface, and gets to work.

This achievement is remarkable and would possibly make our life much easier in the future - robots will be given tasks to accomplish human's work.

What the researchers will be working on in the future, According to Spectrum, is to create robots with autonomous capabilities that can autonomously repair themselves, increase their own size and functionality, and even construct other robots out of movable HMA parts and integrated motors.

 

Source IEEE Spectrum

 

Posted in 3D Printing Technology

 

 

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