More Robot Tool-Use: Wheeled Robot Builds a Ramp to Climb a Box
Researchers from Harvard University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute have taken inspiration from animals like weaver birds, termites, and beavers, and developed robots capable of using cheap materials to build large structures.
…Beavers (and weaver birds) build things by sticking together large numbers of sticks. This new robot can do something very similar with prefabricated sticks (toothpicks) and glue.
…the robot in question has a deposition mechanism with which it “flings” individual toothpicks after adding glue to them. While it has approximately zero control over placing the toothpicks into any sort of arrangement that would make structural sense, the sheer number of toothpicks plus a generous helping of glue means that eventually, the bot can build ramps or anything else that on some level consists of a random pile of wood and glue.