from the the-robots-are-taking-over dept.
"Inspired by the termites' resilience and collective intelligence, a team of computer scientists and engineers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have created an autonomous robotic construction crew. The system needs no supervisor, no eye in the sky, and no communication: just simple robots—any number of robots—that cooperate by modifying their environment.
The TERMES robots can build towers, castles, and pyramids out of foam bricks, autonomously building themselves staircases to reach the higher levels and adding bricks wherever they are needed. In the future, similar robots could lay sandbags in advance of a flood, or perform simple construction tasks on Mars."
[Ed. Note] Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-02-self-organizing-robot s-robotic-crew-foreman.html
Biomimicry is the concept of drawing design inspiration from the natural world, such as for materials design, structural design, process flow, etc. The idea is that Nature has spent millennia optimizing structures and designs for cohabitation within the environment. We see stories all the time here that talk about materials inspired by spider silk, sea sponges, algae, etc. These are all typically focused studies that look at only a specific aspect of the material or design.
In a paper to be published in the journal Earth's Future, researchers look at current resiliant design practices and recommend several pragmatic opportunities for infrastructure managers to make improvements by incorporating biomimicry principles within the design process. These six principles, dubbed Life's Principles are: evolve to survive, adapt to changing conditions, be locally attuned and responsive, integrate development with growth, be resource efficient, and use life-friendly chemistry. They find that current resilient design theory--in theory--addresses all of the biomimicry principles, but in practice they largely ignore and sometimes contradict these principles. They note that a lot of effort has been spent addressing efficiency, but that substantial design advantages would be realized if infrastructure managers tried to align to more biomimicry principles.
Alysha M. Helmrich, Mikhail V. Chester, Samantha Hayes, et al. Using Biomimicry to Support Resilient Infrastructure Design [open], Earth's Future (DOI: 10.1029/2020EF001653)