Did You Know Small Robots Can Make Big Robots?

Researchers at MIT are creating robots that could practically and economically assemble nearly anything, including things much larger than themselves, from vehicles to buildings to larger robots.

The work is based on years of research and shows that robotic devices could be made to carry out routine assembly work in a wide range of fields at a faster rate than is currently possible.

A fully autonomous self-replicating robot assembly system capable of both assembling larger structures, including larger robots, and planning the best construction sequence is still years away, researchers said, but work so far is promising.

The research aims to go beyond other technologies such as 3-D printing, which requires printing machinery as large or larger than the object being made. In addition to commercial applications, researchers said the technology could also be used to build structures for coastal protection against erosion and sea level rise.