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

Sarah Silbert

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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