Modular Robotics Cubelets 11045

ideo:A Robot Construction Kit – CUBELETS

By combining sensor, logic and actuator blocks, young kids can create simple reconfigurable robots that exhibit surprisingly complex behavior.

Cubelets are magnetic blocks that can be snapped together to make an endless variety of robots with no programming and no wires. You can build robots that drive around on a tabletop, respond to light, sound, and temperature, and have surprisingly lifelike behavior. But instead of programming that behavior, you snap the cubelets together and watch the behavior emerge like with a flock of birds or a swarm of bees.

Each cubelet in the kit has different equipment on board and a different default behavior. There are Sense Blocks that act like our eyes and ears, Action blocks, and Think blocks. Just like with people, the senses are the inputs to the system


Introducing “Cubelets” by Modular Robotics: No Wires, No Code, Real Robots

There are many cool tech toys on the market… But Cubelets make building robots quick and fun.  Cubelets are a new robot construction kit from Modular Robotics.  Snap these small magnetic blocks together, and without further ado your robot starts to sense, plan, and act.  Your robot’s behavior depends entirely on how you’ve assembled the Cubelets; behaviors emerge from the local interactions betweenSense, Think, and Action Blocksno single “brain” block and no single “program” controls the robot.

Cubelets were developed by Eric Schweikardt at Carnegie Mellon University, one of the leading centers for robotics research.  Modular Robotics, a spinoff company to commercialize Cubelets, was funded by a small business grant from the National Science Foundation.  Several years in the making, Cubelets are assembled in Boulder, Colorado from parts made all over the world.

The key idea is deceptively simple: each Cubelet does only one thing, but neighboring Cubelets communicate to produce an ensemble with complex behavior.  Sense Cubelets turn signals from the real world (like light, temperature, and proximity) into a number; Action Cubelets turn numbers back into real world signals (like light, motion, and sound); and Think Cubelets (like minimum and maximum) operate on the numbers that flow through a Cubelets-based robot.  Inspired by Braitenberg’s Vehicles (the classic “Vehicles: Experiments in Synthetic Psychology”), Cubelets aim to get people thinking about how complex systems emerge from local interactions.

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