Meet Mori3: A Shape-Shifting Space Travel Robot

Researchers at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) scored a first in modular robotics development with an origami robot that can change shape, move around, and interact with objects and people. Inspired by the digital world of polygon meshing and the biological world of swarm behavior, Mori3, the space-travel robot, can morph from 2D triangles into nearly any 3D object.

The research, published in Nature Machine Intelligence, demonstrates the promise of modular robotics for space travel. The team set out to create a modular, origami-like robot that can be easily assembled and disassembled at will based on the environment and task. Mori3 can change its size, shape, and function.

The triangular-shaped modules of the Mori3 robot easily join to create polygons of different sizes and configurations using polygon meshing. The robots change their own shape, attach to each other, communicate, and reconfigure to form functional and articulated structures. They are good at moving around, handling and transporting objects, and interacting with users.

Polygonal and polymorphic robots can be used in many applications. This robot has the versatility necessary to be used in spacecraft, with no space to store different robots for each individual task that needs to be carried out. The researchers hope Mori3 will be used for communication and external repairs.

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