Skip to main content

Intel: Shape-Shifting Robots Closer to Reality

Researchers at both Intel and Carnegie Mellon University believe that real-world transformers are in the near future, or rather, are closer to reality. In fact, Intel's chief technology officer said last year that the gap between human and artificial intelligence should close by the year 2050. For now however, humans will only need to worry about robots that can take different shapes.

Computerworld reports that scientists are using distributed computing and robotics to make the shape-shifting machines. The "transformers" consist of millions of millimeter-sized robots, enabled through electromagnetic forces and software that allows them to form into various shapes. The researchers call its collective not the Borg, but "programmable matter" called Claytronics; the individual robots are Catoms.

"It's been pretty hard but we've made a lot of progress," said Jason Campbell, a senior staff research scientist at Intel's research lab in Pittsburgh. "Optimistically, we could see this in three to five years. It will take us longer.... We're not there yet, but we see a path."

Campbell said that each Catom will have its own processor. The overall collective can be programmed to work together like a swarm of bees. Currently the researchers are working on a way to program the "programmable matter" on a whole rather than by individual Catom.

Follow me on twitter to get inside scoops and updates even faster!

  • sunflier
    When a transformer goes on sale to the public does Megan Fox come with it?
    Reply
  • papasmurf
    sunflierWhen a transformer goes on sale to the public does Megan Fox come with it?

    I'd buy 3
    Reply
  • djackson_dba
    papasmurfI'd buy 3
    Good call... More than 3 could cause a heart attack...
    Reply
  • ChuvelxD
    Megan Fox is NOT that hot. Personally, i'd go for a Karolina Kurkova. Or for a little diversity, Seletia Ebanks.
    Reply
  • asjflask
    This news story forgot to mention the rest of the future:

    Long ago on a planet called Earth, there were two sides: the Claytronics and the Deceptronics. The Claytronics were led by Optimus Linux and the Deceptronics were led by Microsofton. These two sides would war against each other, bringing upon destruction to the Earth.
    Reply
  • That could backfire fast, I'll take 2 and a roll of duct tape.
    Reply
  • vertigo_2000
    That's all fine and everything, but all I wanna know is... will they make that cool sound when they transform?
    Reply
  • ravewulf
    Sounds more like the Replicators from Stargate than Transformers

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Replicator_(Stargate)
    Reply
  • ravewulf
    ravewulfSounds more like the Replicators from Stargate than Transformershttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Replicator_(Stargate)Better pictures here: http://stargate.wikia.com/wiki/Replicators
    Reply
  • kittle
    Interesting sounding.
    But what happens when the power fails? ... or the battery runs out? suddenly all those electromagnets no longer stick together.
    Reply