Robots are the construction workers of tomorrow. Automated machines are better candidates than humans for building in remote and dangerous environments (say, on the moon), and while the robotic construction industry is still rudimentary, ‘bots and drones are getting more sophisticated. One example: engineers from ETH Zurich’s Gramazio Kohler Research lab, pioneers in robotic architecture, have created drones that can collaborate to build a walkable rope bridge entirely on their own.
The quadcopters set up nine rope segments, flying between two scaffolds to loop, knot, and link sections of the rope and create a bridge. The researchers simply input the exact location of the scaffolding in the room, and the robots did the rest. A motion-capture system in the room monitored the machines’ altitude and movements, feeding this data into an algorithm that calculates how the drones should build.
The result was a rope bridge that a person could walk across, built in a pretty mesmerizing construction process. It’s not the most sophisticated of bridges, but it’s still an impressive feat for two flying hunks of technology. With technology that allows robots to build both structures and new, faster robots, we might as well accept that machine overlords are taking over the world.
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