This Robot Makes Its Own Custom Tools Out of Glue
At this point, you’ve probably noticed the similarities between this process and 3D printing, which is much faster and provides a lot more detail. The reason this robot can’t just 3D print a cup is that the thermoplastic materials don’t provide any good ways of bonding objects to the robot itself, which would mean that the robot would have complex manipulators and deal with grasping, and the whole point (or part of the point) of the HMA is to make complicated things like that unnecessary.
While the actual execution of this task was performed autonomously by the robot, the planning was not, since the robot doesn’t yet have a perception process (or perception hardware, for that matter). This is something that the researchers will be working on in the future, and they fantasize about a robot that can adaptively extend its body how and when it deems fit. They also suggest that this technique could be used to create robots that can autonomously repair themselves, autonomously increase their own size and functionality, and even autonomously construct other robots out of movable HMA parts and integrated motors, all of which sounds like a surefire recipe for disaster if we’ve ever heard one.