Learned from FastCo.Exist about MIT’s latest 3D printed robot. If you give it a battery and motor, it’ll be able to walk right away. It can even be controlled by a smart phone. It’s remarkable because this robot has solid (hard & soft) and liquid parts, and all of those were printed as a whole in the 3D printing process.
It took 22 hours to print such a nearly-fully-functional robot. Once the speed of printing significantly increases, massive amount of robots like this can be put into use immediately in disastrous occasions like earthquakes.
The article throws a really interesting thought: what if a 3D printer can print a functional itself? If the speed of printing is not a problem, then people can have many “printed” 3D printers in a short period of time.
Somehow I feel the human race is getting close to what’s been described in science fictions: First, let 3D printers print fully functional themselves. Second, make those 3D printers robots — then we have robots that can duplicate themselves. Third, incorporate artificial intelligent (AI) into those robots, so they know what missions they are on, when to duplicate themselves and how many duplicates to make. Fourth, robots do great jobs in “mundane” jobs such as rescuing and wars, so they are further developed to have better AI and become smarter. Fifth, they develop themselves to be smarter and take over human scientists. Sixth, robots feel humans are too dumb, it’s time to kick them out…
Check out this Fast.Co Exist article.