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Swiss Researchers Develop a Shape-Shifting Robot for Space

The Mori3 robot is made up of 2D triangular modules that morph to form different 3D robotic devices

Scarlett Evans

June 19, 2023

2 Min Read
EPFL

A shape-shifting robot could soon be ready to go to space.

Created by a team of researchers from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, the Mori3 robot can morph from 2D triangles to 3D objects in a design partially inspired by the swarming behavior of insects or birds.

“Our aim with Mori3 is to create a modular, origami-like robot that can be assembled and disassembled at will depending on the environment and task at hand,” said Jamie Paik, director of the Reconfigurable Robotics Lab. “Mori3 can change its size, shape and function.”

The individual modules of Mori3 are triangular and move to create different 3D objects in a process known as polygon meshing. The objects created can also move through their environment, handle objects around them and interact with users.

“We have shown that polygon meshing is a viable robotic strategy,” said Christoph Belke, study co-author. “We had to rethink the way we understand robotics, these robots can change their own shape, attach to each other, communicate and reconfigure to form functional and articulated structures.”

The robot’s flexibility and multi-functionality make it suited for remote missions as it can be transported easily and once set up can perform a variety of tasks.

“Polygonal and polymorphic robots that connect to one another to create articulated structures can be used effectively for a variety of applications,” said Paik. “Mori3’s biggest selling point is its versatility.” 

In particular, researchers said Mori3 could be used in spacecraft, which typically don’t have space to transport large robotic structures. Once in space, the robots can then be used to help set up infrastructure and perform maintenance and repair tasks.

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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