These 3D-Printed Robots Can Assemble Themselves When Exposed to Heat


WHAT IS THIS DARK MAGIC? (Screengrab via MIT video)

WHAT IS THIS DARK MAGIC? (Screengrab via MIT video)

The only things humans automatically do when it’s hot out are 1. complain and 2. turn on the A/C. We also sweat a lot. It’s far from impressive.

A team at MIT is ensuring that robots will outdo us in the realm of hot-weather activities, as they already do in the areas of factory work and office work (but strangely not ping pong). The team has created a 3D-printed robot that can assemble itself when exposed to heat, The Wire reports.

Made of polyvinyl chloride, the robot comes out of the 3D printer looking like a sadder version of the paper snowflakes you used to make in grade school. When placed in an oven, though, the material contracts and, thanks to the slits in the pattern, the robot assembles itself.

So it’s just the high-tech, heat-based version of a tiny dinosaur that grows in a glass of water, right? Ehhh, kind of. The below video, casually entitled “Bake your own robot,” might explain it better:

Eventually, the robots will be used for specific tasks like “play[ing] with the cat” or “clean[ing] the floor,” The Wire reports, because, sure, it’s all fun and games until your oven becomes a breeding ground for PVC robots bent on world domination.