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Robot uses glue gun to make tools, hopes to ace Survival Skills 101

Sarah Silbert
May 19, 2012
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Looking through Engadget's annals of robotic achievements, we see droids juggling, dabbling in competitive sailing and even manning prisons. Cool as they are, those functions aren't going to mean a thing when Mr. Automaton is lost in the wilderness, damaged and without a helping human hand in sight. Researchers at ETH Zurich are working to change that scenario, as they're currently developing a "self-reconfigurable" device that packs a glue gun for creating the tools it needs on the fly. It might not be the quickest method -- as you'll see in the video below, making a glue cup takes a good hour -- but it's effective enough for transporting and pouring water. That's not to say that the prototype is ready to fend for itself; it built the cup, but only under human direction. The researchers' next step is adding in autonomous capabilities so the bots can repair things -- and even build other robots -- without being told to do so. A sea of self-regenerating droids? Sounds harmless to us.



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