Georgia Tech’s Shape-Shifting Robot Is Built From Smaller Robots Known as ‘Smarticles’

When building robots, we tend to think of using the same standard components — motors, actuators, limbs, and onboard computers — all coming together to form the construct. Researchers from Georgia Tech are changing that view by developing a large robot created by smaller robots known as Smarticles (smart active particles), which offer a potentially new locomotion technique. The tiny 3D-printed robots were designed with a pair flat arms that only do one simple thing, flap back and forth, but when five of the robots are confined in a circle, the nudge each other and form a larger robot, known as a Supersmarticle, capable of moving itself.

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