Smart Pebble robots replicate objects the way a good hive mind should (video)
Art imitating life (T-1000, anybody?) or yet another evolutionary step towards the subjugation of mankind? For now, let’s just shift focus to the immediate and soak in this novel feat of robo-replication engineered by a team from M.I.T. Headed up by Professor Daniela Rus, the Smart Sand project looks nothing like it sounds and that’s because the tech in question is currently more cube than grain. Measuring 12mm per side, these intelligent pebbles work in unison to recreate an object by first surrounding it and then building a shared 3D map that’s used as a blueprint for duplication. Eventually, the researchers hope to shrink the units down to just 1mm in size, effectively creating a “sand” that could completely engulf and actually clone objects (think: tools) as needed, in multiples or even enlarged versions. That promise of an ultra-portable bag of 3D-printing fairy dust is still safely a ways off, so in the meantime, content yourself with video footage of the mini-modules first cyborg steps after the break.