Machine Metabolism Robot Meets the World


This research was featured in IEEE Spectrum on 02/21/2012
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Robotic Truss Reconfiguration with a Metabolic Machine

Me, inspecting v3 of the Truss Reconfiguration Robot that I helped design (Photo courtesy: Lindsay France/University Photography)

This past week, we finally uploaded the video for the “machine metabolism” robot that I helped develop in Cornell’s Creative Machines Lab over the past few years. The project was directed by Professor Hod Lipson, my research advisor, with the mechanical and iterative design being done by Franz Nigl, a former visiting scientist, and Shuguang Li, a former visiting Ph.D. student. I was responsible for the development of the electronics platform, and the software (written in C for an Atmega-based microcontroller) that was used in the robot shown in the photo above.

You can learn more about the goals of this project (and why we call it “machine metabolism”) on the lab’s research page, or in my portfolio. In short, this robot is capable of traversing a truss structure and reassembling it into a different configuration. Future implications include repair on the international space station, improved construction-zone safety, and autonomous skyscraper construction. Check out the video below to see it in action!


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