Scientists at the Biorobotics Laboratory (BIOROB) in Switzerland are giving a whole new meaning to the concept of furniture on the go.
They have been working on the development of Roombots, small robotic modules that can be manipulated via a tablet to change shape and create simple furniture that can be reconfigured on command. What’s more, the Roombots can move furniture from one place to another similar to a souped-up remote-control toy car,
Each of the 22-centimeter (8.7-inch) Roombots has a wireless connection and is powered by a battery and three miniature motors that facilitate a degree of motion. In addition, the Roombots have retractable claws that are used to attach to each other to construct larger pieces ala Lego building blocks, but motorized. The Roombots also use their claws to anchor to the holes of a special surface in floors or walls to allow them to connect to one another.
“Passive” pieces, such as wood table tops, can rest atop the Roombots to create functional furniture. A video produced by EPFL shows how a Roombot table can deliver a prescriptive medicine from one end of a room to the patient.
The researchers say they are making progress but still have a ways to go for the Roombots to make more complex pieces of furniture.