Transformers, anyone?

What happens when you send a rolling robot out for a mission, and it turns out to need legs instead?  In this video, Professor Shai Revzen describes how his team is working to create “self-assembling” robots that can build themselves into any form required.

Revzen and his team at the Biologically Inspired Robotics and Dynamical Systems (BIRDS) Lab are working on a variety of innovative solutions to create mechanical and robotic tools for challenging situations. In addition to self-assembling technologies, the team hopes to identify, model, and reproduce the strategies animals use to combine mechanical and neural control for interacting with physical objects.

Revzen is professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and ecology and evolutionary biology at U-M’s College of Engineering. His research at the BIRDS Lab focuses on the role of mechanical dynamics in the control of animal and robot motion. His approach has been to reverse-engineer whole-system properties of the animals through measurement of their closed-loop interactions with the environment, and apply these principles in the form of robotic devices.

(Top image: Shai Revzen works alongside one of his students in the BIRDS Lab. Image provided by Revzen.)

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