modular robots

Wired article about modular robots.

Really, really cool robots from Parc: here and here.

Robot pornography: the "Poly Bot":

The two connection plates on either side of the module are identical, hermaphroditic and have a 4 way rotational symmetry. That is, any two connection plates may be attached together at 90 degree increments. To connect the plates four grooved pins enter four holes on the opposing plate and are grabbed by a latching mechanism that can be later released by a shape memory alloy actuator. Each face has 4 times redundant custom made hermaphroditic electric connectors to enable power and communications to be passed from module to module. Each face also has four IR LEDS and sensors for face to face docking during reconfiguration and rudimentary module-to-module communication. This communication is used during initialization by the robot to discover its configuration.

Looks a lot like the Replicators from Stargate, doesn't it?