futurescope:

Smart sand & robot pebbles

It sounds like something out of a fantasy film: a vat of sand into which you plunge a small object only to watch the sand bind together to form larger copies of the same object. Such “smart sand” isn’t exactly a reality just yet, but a team at MIT’s Distributed Robotics Laboratory (DRL) has a vision for tiny granules—“smart pebbles”—imbued with a small amount of computing power and covered in magnets on the outside. Piled together in a heap, the small amount of computing power in each grain would become a single distributed computing platform capable of shaping itself into objects, with the unneeded grains falling away to leave behind the finished product. […]

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(via futurescope)

Source: popsci.com