Robot that reassembles itself after being kicked


Amazing shape-shifter robotic system being developed at University of Pennsylvania that can locate its subsystem clusters and reassemble itself after being kicked or otherwise disrupted.

Shape-shifting robots take form [via Boing Boing]

6 thoughts on “Robot that reassembles itself after being kicked

  1. nice says:

    ive seen a few of these and they are very neat to watch reassemble themselves…. but i cant help wondering why not just make a robot that DOESNT fall apart when kicked lightly. perhaps use screws instead of magnets. :)

  2. Jack says:

    There are several good reasons. Here’s one off the top of my head, but I’m sure there are many other much better ones.

    1. The ability to accomplish a wider range of missions. These robots can be tall when needed, but can then fit through small, tight spaces by undocking and moving individually. This could be useful if, for instance, the robot was going into an environment where it’s surroundings were not previously known. It may need to reach up high for some task, and then travel through a small opening. These robots have a greater flexibility (if not strength) than most robotics platforms.

  3. Anthony O'Malley says:

    I fear it feigned idiocy by falling over and apart with comedic timing specifically so we would underestimate it. Don’t fall for its charade!

    Modular robots are not made to survive: they are made to suffer. The destruction or compromise of any one unit necessitates only the disposal of that unit, rather than the entire robot. It’s a form redundant safety.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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