ChainFORM: A modular robot

trippy but cool
Ken nakagaki from MIT's tangible Media group has come up with something interesting. A foldable reel of robotic segments that can interact with each other, like a single unit. Something similar to what we saw at the end of the Rajnikanth movie 'robot', where tiny robots connect with one another into forming a giant machine. This is something similar!

chainform robot

The project is an evolved form of an earlier advent called as LineFORM. It was a linear robotic development project which has now lead to this one, called chainFORM. The components have individual LED lights and motors, with several degrees of freedom.

mit robot
They can detect how many of their partner components are live and work along with them. You can control their movements from the app interface available. It behaves like a cluster of tiny Legos, joined to look like a snake. The robots also seem to recognize external contact, so they can tell where they are being held.

pretty responsive!
The fact that the chainFORM is infinitely expandable, leads to a lot of creative applications for it. It can be used as a tracker not that slithers along the ground, into tight spaces and transimts back a camera feed. The chainFORM can also be used to bring life to inanimate objects like a soft toys. If this thing is coupled with artificial intelligence, the possibilities are beyond limits.

chain form bot
Endless applications!
As of now, it's still pretty much, a demo unit. Ken nakagaki thinks that the chainFORM has vital uses in prototyping a robot skeleton, as the robot can be programmed based on it's variable length.
He predicts that it can find greater use somewhere along the next decade or so.

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