NASA is working on shape-shifting robots for Saturn’s moon

NASA, Science

If have seen the movie Transformer by Michael Bay, then you probably might get fantasized about the shape-shifting robots. Well!!! Now NASA is also working on such kind of shape-changing robots that can swim, fly or roll.

On Wednesday NASA shared a look at a 3D-printed prototype Shapeshifter, which can roll across the sand before stopping and splitting in half. Once separated, the two sections rise, their small propellers turning them into flying drones. A team of scientists is currently testing the concept using a 3D-printed prototype at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The concept includes 12 self-assembling robots and NASA calls them Cobots. These cobots houses a small propeller which helps them to move independently, fly or swim. These cobots can combine to one another automatically, without feeding any inputs from the earth. They can transform themselves into a rolling sphere, fly independently along cliffsides or even create a daisy chain while exploring a cave.

“We have very limited information about the composition of the surface. Rocky terrain, methane lakes, cryovolcanoes – we potentially have all of these, but we don’t know for certain,” said JPL Principal Investigator Ali Agha. “So we thought about how to create a system that is versatile and capable of traversing different types of terrain but also compact enough to launch on a rocket.”

The Shapeshifter team will submit their concept for the NIAC’s Phase II selection process in 2020.



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