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.
Matt Gaetz forgot which network he was on: Surprised CNN anchor said ‘I’ve never been called Sean Hannity’
Rep. Matt Gaetz seemed to confuse cable news networks during a Thursday appearance
Gaetz was interviewed by CNN's Chris Cuomo, who aggressively challenged Gaetz on the facts as the Florida Republican attempted to defend President Donald Trump.
Despite the fact Cuomo's interview was nothing like the puff segments Gaetz is used to on Fox, the congressman seemed confused by the end.
"Congressman, you are always welcome, wherever I am, at nine or eleven, whenever," Cuomo said.
"Thanks Sean," Gaetz replied.
"Did you just call me Sean?" Cuomo asked. "Did you just call me Sean?"
California lawmaker who chaired Republican Assembly caucus leaving GOP — to become an independent: report
On Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reported that California Assemblyman Chad Mayes, the former Assembly Minority Leader, is leaving the Republican Party and registering as No Party Preference.
"Instead of focusing on solutions for the big problems that we've got, we focused on winning elections," said Mayes in his announcement. "For me, I'm at the point in my life where I'm done with gamesmanship."
Mayes, a controversial figure who was implicated in an affair with a fellow public official, represents Yucca Valley. He is the second Republican Assemblyman this year to leave the party, after Brian Maienschein of San Diego, who Maienschein of San Diego.
‘Quantum physics generator’ incident in Ohio results in evacuation — hazmat found no radiation
Authorities in Columbus, Ohio evacuated dozens of homes after a man called 911 to report being burned by a
"Firefighters say nothing threatening was found in a northwest Columbus garage," WCMH-TV reported. "According to firefighters, a man called and reported that he received ‘RF burns’ while building some sort of ‘quantum physics generator’ in a garage. The man used words like ‘particle accelerator,’ ‘alpha rays,’ and ‘radiation’ while describing how he was burned."