Daniela Rus, a professor of computer science and engineering at MIT and a principal investigator at its Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), is working on yet another innovative idea for what robots can do. This one involves tiny robotic pebbles, or cubes, that self-assemble to duplicate an object that is placed in a heap of the cubes. Possible applications include rapid prototyping and replacing parts or objects.
We've discussed the CSAIL before. It is the same lab that came up with the 3D navigating robot, and Rus is leading a joint research project for designing and 3D printing your own robots using regular household materials. The self-duplicating pebble project is from the CSAIL's Distributed Robotics Laboratory (DRL).