On second thought, since there are already branded toys--the static ones referred to at the beginning of the article--and since this thing costs several thousand dollars, I doubt if it's likely that this design will be co-branded with the movie. But it's certainly available for purchase by Neiman's-shopping parents.
Those are the same variables that concerned me with scaling up this technology. And it looks like most of the self-assembly/self-reconfiguring technology I'm investigating is done by researchers more interested in scaling down--way down, to nanoscale transformers.
Ann, probably the one other thing that we will need to scale up is our "suspension of disbelief". The biggest issue that I can see is not in the scaling of the materials, but in the fact that both weight and inertia also scale up, by a higher factor, I think, at least for the inertia. The full-scale transformers will need to move a bit slower, I guess.
William, well said. I have a hard time imaging how they will successfully scale up the hardware to full-size operation by 2030. Unless they take advantage of some of the R&D work being done in self-assembling and self-reconfiguring robots primarily via software. I'll be covering that in an upcoming feature article. Perhaps that R&D work will have resulted in more macroscale hardware implementations by 2030, which will aid Brave Robotics' efforts.
It is quite amazing, that transformation. A slow motion presentation would have been even better, but at the speed that it changes it is a big accomplishment indeed. I did see what looks like a challenge with the vehicle steering, but that may just be the way that it was run for the video, and a tabletop is not the best place to show off a car.
But the details of how a full scale unit would drive will be very interesting indeed, and I look forward to that. Of course the full scale one will have a whole lot more obstacles to overcome before it is as "cool" as this model.
I noticed that the timeline is suggesting that the full scale transforming vehicle will include occupants. I would have to assume that the transformation mode keeps the occupants in some kind of neutral position. However, even the CGI guys realized the impractibility of transforming with people inside their digital creations and decided to eject them out. Seems to me the transformation technology is a challenging engineering task, but now add human safety! Good luck!!!
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Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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