HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Blog

Video: Robotic Droplets Will Assemble Satellites

NO RATINGS
View Comments: Oldest First|Newest First|Threaded View
Page 1/3  >  >>
Greg M. Jung
User Rank
Platinum
Swarming
Greg M. Jung   2/28/2013 8:41:31 PM
NO RATINGS
Interesting article.  This concept reminds me of a swarming colony of army ants or cells in the human body all working together to complete a complex coordinated task (that one cell alone cannot do).

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Swarming
Ann R. Thryft   3/1/2013 1:00:56 PM
NO RATINGS
Greg, that's a good description of why many swarm robot designs are being developed. The concept of robotic swarms is modeled after biological swarming insects.

Cabe Atwell
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Swarming
Cabe Atwell   3/1/2013 6:40:43 PM
NO RATINGS
Would these bots just travel around in orbit to fix satellites, or would they be assigned to one, I wonder? What type of propulsion are they planning? Nevertheless, the swarm-tech never fails to impress.

C

William K.
User Rank
Gold
Swarming robot "droplets"
William K.   3/2/2013 8:13:51 PM
NO RATINGS
I am wondering just what sort of repairs such small robots could be called on to do. Strength usually comes with size, and even working in concert, these would still be a collection of "small". An area of far greater concern would be if a "collective intelligence" should become self aware. That could lead to a number of unanticipated outcomes. 

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Swarming
Ann R. Thryft   3/4/2013 1:02:30 PM
NO RATINGS
All good questions, Cabe. I'm sure we'll learn more if/when the space application ever emerges. So far, it's one of several the research team envisions, not an actual project in progress.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Swarming robot "droplets"
Ann R. Thryft   3/4/2013 1:03:16 PM
NO RATINGS
William, the researchers mentioned primarily assembly, not repair. The repair mentioned in the article was done by larger robots, and on coral reefs, which takes very little strength: picking up and placing very small pieces of coral. And swarms of small robots have worked together to assemble structures both large and small:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W18Z3UnnS_0
http://www.idsc.ethz.ch/Research_DAndrea/Archives/Flying_Machine_Enabled_Construction

Cabe Atwell
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Swarming robot "droplets"
Cabe Atwell   3/5/2013 3:06:04 PM
NO RATINGS
These bots remind me of white blood cells. They will surround a satellite until it is fixed. That will be interesting.

These bots should also travel around and disassemble the derelict space debris and push it all into a decaying orbit.

C

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Swarming robot "droplets"
Ann R. Thryft   3/6/2013 1:23:26 PM
NO RATINGS
William, your comment on self-awareness is interesting, but I think it's important to remember that self-assembly occurs throughout nature without necessarily implying an accompanying sentience.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Swarming robot "droplets"
Ann R. Thryft   3/6/2013 1:24:41 PM
NO RATINGS
Cabe, great visualization & metaphor. I wonder, though, if they're too small to deal with space junk. NASA is working on a different robotic system for that, which we covered here: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=249134

The satlets' size is not given, but I'd guess it's a bit bigger than these droplets.

William K.
User Rank
Gold
Re: Swarming robot "droplets"
William K.   3/6/2013 10:10:16 PM
NO RATINGS
Ann, Of course self awareness is not what these researchers are aiming for , but others are seeking to make the robots "Real", using artificial inteligence. My concern is that the AI group will create something that leads to self awarenesss, and shortly after that we will al be in trouble. Just considerthe problem of being in a cloud of rbots small enough to inhale accidentaly, and being allergic to their case materials.

Page 1/3  >  >>
Partner Zone
More Blogs
George Leopold's talk at last week's Design & Manufacturing Minneapolis helped restore astronaut and engineer Gus Grissom's role in the beginnings of NASA, and outlined how Grissom played a pivotal role in winning the Space Race.
The Department of Energy has developed a new thermal-energy storage system for solar energy so it can be used at night.
At the Design and Manufacturing show in Minneapolis last week, Myst creator Chuck Carter spelled out the future for Virtual Reality: content.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed fabric that can simultaneously harvest energy from both sunshine and motion.
Kickstarter offers a gazillion ideas for businesses that are seeking start-up funding. The crowdfunding site also features new gadgets from companies struggling to get their product out to customers. We took a look at the gadgets currently featured and found a number of cool ideas that are seeking funding angels.
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Sep 12 - 16, Analytics for the IoT: A Deep Dive into Algorithms
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6 |  7 | 8 | 9 | 10


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Course September 27-29:
Sponsored by Stratasys
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2016 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service