What if getting a robot was as simple as peeling off the right amount of duct tape? That’s the idea behind MIT’s new ChainFORM robots, which take all kinds of cool shapes in the video below.
Coming out of MIT’s Tangible Media Lab, ChainFORM is a “shape-changing interface” that uses “rich sensing and actuation capability” to become what its user needs it to become. ChainFORM is a series of interconnected blocks, each block comes with its own servo motor and touch detection capabilities.
ChainFORM certainly isn’t the first interface to decide that a lot of little robots that can be combined and customized in curious ways is better and more versatile than having one big machine. It’s not the only one with an animal reference point, either. While ChainFORM can resemble a caterpillar, other groups have begun to resemble swarms of spiders.