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MEAM Seminar: “A Methodology for Self-Replicating Robots from Ice”
July 13, 2021 at 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
In the late 1940s, John von Neumann first introduced the concept of self-replication as a way of furthering cellular reproduction research. By the late ‘50s and ’60s this research diverges along two separate paths: cellular automata replication with a focus on biological systems and robotics/machine replication. Generally the work in robotic systems focuses on the theoretical. While there has been some work on physical systems they are not deployable outside of a laboratory setting and are in fact self-assembling systems rather than self-replicating systems.
In this talk I will present research towards a self-replicating and self-reconfigurable system which uses found materials. These projects work towards solving a limitation of self-replicating robotic systems and their inability to utilize materials at the deployment sites for replication. First I review the current state of the art in self-replication and then present our work to date with found materials. Our contributions include: (1) a low-cost technique for quantifying the material properties of tree branches and building structures with them and (2) highlighting, from the perspective of energy efficiency, the manufacturing methods behind a proof-of-concept robot made from ice.
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, University of Pennsylvania
Advisor: Mark Yim