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M-Tran self-reconfigurable modular robot

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M-Tran bots

Our favorite robots are the kind that can help themselves. Just so, the M-Tran modular transformer robots developed in (where else) Japan can actually self-assemble and reconfigure themselves into different shapes to create new patterns of movement. The robots are composed of small modular building blocks that are organized in both lattice and chainlike systems, giving a large number of combinatorial possibilities. The configurations are not pre-programmed by the robot's creators, but are determined by the robots themselves using genetic algorithms to discover new ways of motion on their own. It only took them 3 days to figure out the Electric Slide.

Video: M-Tran bots in action [MPG, 2.5MB]

[Thanks, Joon]

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