The brainchild of the Tangible Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology implements the principle of “interface with a changing form.” Instead of a finished design, you get a coil with a conditional-infinite tape from the combined robotic segments. You tear off as much as you need, and design the machine for your task.
ChainFORM – just a prototype, created to test the practical aspects of using robots with a replaceable design. Not so much know-how, as an alternative to spider robots , caterpillars and other moving systems that change shape, based on the tasks assigned. In this case it is simply a chain of units with servo drives – the degree of freedom and autonomy of a single fragment is very limited.
In practice, everything depends on the user’s skills, which will collect the final mechanism from ChainFORM. Like a primitive children’s plasticine, this robot can become anything – from the simplest device for animating figures to a straight design, with bending in the joints with paws. The units are equipped with tactile sensors for gesture control. They also have a backlight to indicate the circuit sections involved.
The practical benefit of ChainFORM at this stage is small, but its creators believe that once such robots will become part of everyday life. As a universal adhesive tape – rewound, blinded and used.