The versatility of the human body is truly amazing. Think of all the things that humans can do. We can walk, jump, climb, and run. We can lift, throw, catch, and push. Our fingers, hands, arms, and legs can do many wonderful things. They can even do multiple different kinds of things, sometimes at the same time. Consider all of the things your mouth can do. You use your mouth to talk, sing, eat, drink, blow, kiss, and smile. Robot designers have not been able to create a robot that can do everything the human body can do. Perhaps taking a cue from the “Transformers” movies, some engineers want to develop a multi-purpose robot design.
The job is not easy. Some are experimenting with the idea of creating heat-activated origami suits that serve as exoskeletons for a robot to allow it to do different tasks. The robot would change costumes to “transform” itself. Just as crawling caterpillars morph into flying butterflies, the goal is to create a robot that transforms itself by taking on a different form as it applies a different suit. The director of the project at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory said, “With this metamorphosis-inspired approach, we can extend the capabilities of a single robot by giving it different accessories to use in different situations.”
It sounds like a very challenging task to create a self-morphing robot. However, changing an outer shell to give the robot different functions is not the same as the metamorphosis of a caterpillar. In a way that is beyond robot engineering, the caterpillar dissolves into mush then reorganizes into something completely different. It doesn’t merely take on a new shell. This worm with no real brain does something that the brightest engineering designers can’t accomplish.
Getting back to the versatility of the human body, that has to be the most significant engineering accomplishment ever. We can do a countless number of different things. Then using the brain that God gave us, we can create tools (even robots) to accomplish the tasks we don’t have the strength or stamina to do. Multi-purpose robot design is a worthy challenge requiring the versatile abilities that only God could give us.
The Journal Science Robots reported on “Robotic metamorphosis by origami exoskeletons” which you can read HERE.
–Roland Earnst © 2018