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Foambot Creates Itself Out of Sprayable Foam, Becoming Whatever Robot You Need


Like most machines, Robots are generally built toward a purpose or a set of narrowly defined applications, like automobile manufacturing or explosive ordnance disposal or making doner kebabs. So how do you make a robot that is truly multi-utility, adaptable to any job? You make a robot that can make itself.

Enter Foambot, a University of Pennsylvania creation that constructs itself on the spot depending on what kind of robot is needed at the time. Foambot consists of a mobile “mothership” platform and several joint modules that can create powered kinetic motion. Programmed for a task, the mothership can configure the joints on the ground and spray them with a mixture of chemical reagents that harden and expand into a solid urethane foam.

 Once connected by the hardened foam, the joints are coordinated by a piece of software that analyses the way the mothership has connected them and creates a motion scheme on the fly. And like that, you have a robot. Kind of like Voltron, but without the defender-of-the-universe mission profile.

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