Robots

MIT Invents Precursor to Transformers

More than meets the eye ...

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A tiny robot capable of bending and flexing into a huge range of shapes could pave the way for real-life Transformers.

The milli-motein — so called because it is essentially a millimetre-scale motorised device inspired by the natural complex folding of biological protein molecules — uses watchmaking techniques to reorganise itself into different forms.

"It's effectively a one-dimensional robot that can be made in a continuous strip, without conventionally moving parts, and then folded into arbitrary shapes," said Neil Gershenfeld, head of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms, in a press release.