Imagine a future where massive, flying robots assemble complex structures like skyscrapers or houses, with all the machines working as one, coordinated through a wireless network and custom algorithm.
Granted, a similar process already takes place today on a much smaller scale, albeit guided by human pilots.
But with the potential for human error eliminated, construction times could be drastically reduced. Ultimately, a hyper-streamlined system could result in thousands of construction jobs being eliminated and a surge in urban sprawl.
Such an invention, properly scaled upward, would be simply revolutionary — and that radical vision, scarcely imagined even in science fiction, took its first step toward becoming a reality in 2011.
University of Pennsylvania PhD candidate Daniel Mellinger, in a project by the school’s GRASP Lab (General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception), created a set of flying, networked robot builders that can quickly and accurately assemble structures made out of magnetic rods.
The only input required from a human equipped with such a system would be her choice of blueprint: the drones handle everything else.
The robotic helicopters, equipped with a specialized grabbing mechanism for Mellinger’s latest demonstration, were shown last year to be dexterous enough to do mid-air flips, pass through windows, perch on vertical surfaces and swarm in predefined patterns.
While it was just a small-scale project, it was likely to go down as one of the first to truly show the potential of hive-mind robotic assistants.
“I think this work is a first step in autonomous aerial robotic assembly,” Mellinger told Raw Story. “I think it is reasonable to say that in the near future we can have large-scale aerial robots autonomously building structures that are useful to humans.”
This video is from the University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP Lab, published Jan. 13, 2010.
Image credit: ‘Back to the Future,’ 1985, copyright Universal Pictures.
‘Why do we need camo in space’: Trump’s Space Force ridiculed for woodland camouflage uniforms
On Friday, the United States Space Force released an image of their new uniforms on Twitter.
The image shows a Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) for a four-star general in a woodland camouflage pattern, with a matching camo nametape.
However, many people were confused as to why the Space Force would use uniforms designed to blend in on earth.
Here's some of what people were saying:
Sorry for the question but why do we need camo in space?
BUSTED: National Archives caught doctoring exhibit to remove criticism of President Trump from women
The National Archives were caught editing an artifact from the Trump administration to remove criticism of the president, according to a bombshell new report in The Washington Post.
The newspaper reported on a "large color photograph" at the National Archives exhibit marking the centennial of women's suffrage.
"The 49-by-69-inch photograph is a powerful display. Viewed from one perspective, it shows the 2017 march. Viewed from another angle, it shifts to show a 1913 black-and-white image of a women’s suffrage march also on Pennsylvania Avenue. The display links momentous demonstrations for women’s rights more than a century apart on the same stretch of pavement. But a closer look reveals a different story," the newspaper noted.
Dershowitz is running a ‘bizarro defense’ of Trump: Harvard Law colleague says ‘Alan is just completely wacko’
Two of the most famous names associated with Harvard Law School had competing appearances on MSNBC on Friday.
It began when Alan Dershowitz, a professor emeritus, was interviewed MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber about his new role officially representing President Donald Trump during the Senate impeachment trial.
Dershowitz claimed that neither abuse of power nor obstruction of Congress count as "high crimes" under the constitution.
Professor Alan Dershowitz, who has also been associated with Harvard Law for five decades, was asked about Dershowitz's argument during an interview with Chris Hayes.