A team of engineers has unveiled a unique robot design that's similar to origami as it can fold and change its shape.
Astronauts heading to the Moon may be joined by shapeshifting robots called Mori Modular Robot for Space, or Mori3 for short. The team of engineers from EPFL's School of Engineering has taken to its website to announce the new research has been published in Nature Machine Intelligence, and that the idea behind the Mori3 is to create a shapeshifting robot that can be easily assembled for specific functions. The origami-like robot features individual triangular modules that can be joined together to make polygons of various sizes.
The robots can be delivered to the Moon via a flatpack, making storage easy. According to the announcement, Mori3 robots are able to achieve three necessities a lunar robot should do; move around, handle and transport objects, and the ability to interact with human users. The researchers behind the Mori3 acknowledge that robots designed for specific tasks will be much more efficient, but hope the Mori3's versatility will make it an attractive option, especially for astronauts that need to complete tasks in confined and sometimes cramped spaces.
"Polygonal and polymorphic robots that connect to one another to create articulated structures can be used effectively for a variety of applications. Of course, a general-purpose robot like Mori3 will be less effective than specialized robots in certain areas. That said, Mori3's biggest selling point is its versatility," says Jamie Paik, director of the Reconfigurable Robotics Lab and leader of researchers that created the Mori3.