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Swarms of Tiny Futuristic Robots to Create "Liquid that Thinks and Colonize Spac

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  • derhexer@aol.com
    URL to an interesting post from The Daily Galaxy http://tinyurl.com/crxn53t These sound like von Neumann machines. Robert Charles Wilson in his Axis trilogy
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 17, 2012
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      URL to an interesting post from The Daily Galaxy
      http://tinyurl.com/crxn53t

      These sound like von Neumann machines. Robert Charles Wilson in his Axis
      trilogy addresses questions around these

      Chris

      "_University of Colorado Boulder_
      (http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=40.0066666667,-105.267222222&spn=0.01,0.01&q=40.0066666667,-105.267222222
      (University%20of%20Colorado%20at%20Boulder)&t=h) professor Nikolaus Correll and his
      computer science research team, have developed a basic robotic building
      block, which he hopes to reproduce in large quantities to develop increasingly
      _complex systems_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_systems) . Recently
      the team created a swarm of 20 robots, each the size of a pingpong ball,
      which they call “droplets.”When the droplets swarm together, Correll said,
      they form a “liquid that thinks," similar to the fictional “nanomorphs”
      depicted in the “_Terminator_
      (http://terminatorsalvation.warnerbros.com/dvd/index.html) ” films wherelarge swarms of intelligent robotic devices could be
      used for a range of tasks. Swarms of robots could be unleashed to contain
      an oil spill or to self-assemble into a piece of hardware after being
      launched separately into space, Correll said.
      Correll plans to use the droplets to demonstrate self-assembly and
      swarm-intelligent behaviors such as pattern recognition, sensor-based motion and
      adaptive shape change. These behaviors could then be transferred to large
      swarms for water- or air-based tasks. With future efforts, Correll hopes to
      create a design methodology for aggregating the droplets into more complex
      behaviors such as assembling parts of a large space telescope or an aircraft.
      Correll is continuing work on robotic garden technology he developed at the
      _Massachusetts Institute of Technology_
      (http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=42.35982,-71.09211&spn=0.01,0.01&q=42.35982,-71.09211
      (Massachusetts%20Institute%20of%20Technology)&t=h) in 2009. Correll has been working with _Joseph
      Tanner_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_R._Tanner) in CU-Boulder’s
      aerospace engineering sciences department to further develop the technology,
      involving autonomous sensors and robots that can tend gardens, in
      conjunction with a model of a long-term _space habitat_
      (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_habitat) being built by students.
      Correll says there is virtually no limit to what might be created through
      distributed intelligence systems. “Every living organism is made from a
      swarm of collaborating cells,” he said. “Perhaps some day, our swarms will
      colonize space where they will assemble habitats and lush gardens for future
      space explorers.”
      For a short video of Correll’s team developing swarm droplets visit
      http://www.colorado.edu/news/multimedia/researchers-creating-team-tiny-robots.For
      more information about CU-Boulder’s computer science department visit
      http://www.colorado.edu/engineering/academics/degree/computer-science."


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