I, for one, welcome out new segmented robotic overlords.

You must see these videos:

M-TRAN II auto-reconfigurable robot

"Each block can rotate 180 degrees around the link that connects it to its mate, and each module contains a magnet that can be switched on and off, enabling it to connect to other modules in the system. Genetic algorithms allow the robot to discover new ways of moving on its own."

Best lego kit ever.

Also, The OmniTread:

"The OmniTread is divided into five box-shaped segments connected through the middle by a long drive shaft spine that drives the tracks of all segments. Bellow s in the joints connecting the sections inflate or deflate to make the robot turn or lift the segments. The bellows provide enough torque for the OmniTread to lift the two front or rear segments to climb objects."
(38MB WMV)
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19 Responses:

  1. jwm says:


    Teh intaweb distributed HTML checker sez: the first anchor tag has left open. Your welcome.


  2. ciphergoth says:

    These treads prevent the snakebot from stalling or becoming stuck on rough terrain because, similar to a tire touching a road, t the treads propel the robot forward like a tire touching a road.

  3. primroseport says:

    replicator on the stargate sg1 television series:

    • jwz says:

      Yes, the pre-SHARK-JUMPING replicators were extremely cool!

      • usufructer says:

        At what point did they jump the shark? When they became human?

        • jwz says:

          Yeah, I find the "human" replicators to be totally shark-o-riffic. This season has been kinda disappointing overall.

          It's the same error Star Trek made with the Borg Queen: both the Borg and the replicators were most interesting when they were an utterly alien intelligence. They both suck once you turn them into just another moustache-twirling Snidely Whiplash.

          • usufructer says:

            Ah. I watch the show as it comes out on DVD, so I haven't seen any of this season yet. I could sense the suck from the episode they were introduced in. Perhaps they could put all the loose ends (O'neill's younger clone?) and the human replicators and blow it up.

            If you ever listen to Peter Deluise's voice overs, they're always about what shows or movies he ripped off to make any particular story. I wouldn't be surprised if the Borg queen was the inspiration.

  4. xenogram says:

    Bellows in the joints connecting the sections inflate or deflate to make the robot turn or lift the segments.

    I understand this is more or less how tentacles work (inflation and deflation of internal sacs)

  5. psymbiotic says:

    Impressive! :>

    Egan >:>

  6. bramcohen says:

    And I must ask, why is this not available as a mass market construction kit?

  7. fib says:

    wow. very cool!

  8. mrmiasma says:

    I had the wonderful opportunity to see the M-TRAN II in action this past year at ALIFE9. They put a few of 'em on the table and started remote controlling them about. They still didn't have the walking down completely, you need a surface with friction, so it looked more like a baby with amputated limbs trying to crawl. Still pretty kickass tho.