MIT makes it easy for beginners to design robots

It’s not easy building robots if you don’t have the education and the training. A team of researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), however, have developed a tool that allows even beginners to design machines. CSAIL’s Interactive Robogami system makes it possible to conjure up a robot design in minutes and to put it together in an hour or two. You begin the process by mixing and matching parts from a catalogue on a computer, including the robot’s body and its means of locomotion.

Since the researchers want even those with zero prior experience to be able to use the system, the program can simulate your design’s movements on screen to see if it works. If there’s something wrong with it, say it’s too top-heavy or the wheels you chose won’t work out, the program can make suggestions.

Once you’re done creating the blueprint, the next step is 3D-printing your robot’s parts as flat, foldable components — there’s a reason why the system is called Interactive Robogami. Inspired by the art of paper folding or origami, you’ll have to fold the components and connect their joints to make a whole machine. This print-and-fold method apparently reduces the amount of materials needed by 70 percent and the printing time by 73 percent.

It still took 3 to 7 hours to print all the components needed for each robot during the team’s tests, but the whole process still didn’t take a lot of time overall. Their subjects, all of whom only went through 20 minutes of training, were able to design robotic cars within 10 to 15 minutes and assemble their creations within half an hour to an hour-and-a-half.

Team co-leader Cynthia Sung said the system is “lowering the barrier to have everyone design and create their own robots.” They believe that Interactive Robogami could give people the power to create robots on demand based on the task they need help with and could enable large-scale production of customized machines.


Source: Engadget - Read the full article here

Author: Daily Tech Whip

This article is part of our 'News Tiles' service. The site is currently in Beta. When it is fully operational you will be able to search through and arrange the 'Tiles' to display a keyword, product or technology over your chosen time period. For example you would be able to display all of the leading tech articles on the new Kindle Fire, in one spot in real time. You will also have access to our own original reporting and analysis as well as a polished place to post your own thoughts & reviews here, amongst the Daily Tech Whip Community. Please let us know if you have any feedback via the contact form or via Twitter. Don't forget to come back next week and see our full site and claim your name and your own free tech blog.

Share This Post On