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Relative Robotics: Autonomous Digital Assembly of Reconfigurable and Arbitrarily Sized Structures

Matt Carney (The Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT)
Foundations
Location: Fleet Room
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Autonomous, parallelized assembly of tunable modulus digital composite cellular lattice structures; task optimized robotic assemblers with lattice based one-bit gait and fastening strategies; kinematic constraints, and structurally encoded part placements provide elastically-averaged bulk precision; gantry-less fabrication liberates design from traditional build envelope constraints; and interlocking fastening features enable reconfiguration of the lattice.

We are making robots that are optimized to live within the structure they build and maintain. These structures are based on crystal lattices with sparse density and high modulus, yet, the bulk modulus may be tuned based on the arrangement and design of the lattice face elements. The elements are placed one at a time by robots that step through the structure one element at a time. That is to say, the robots make one-bit motions relative to the structure. The geometric nature of the lattice encodes data into the overall system. The bulk structure is composed of finite elements and as such they provide inherent simulation overhead reduction by becoming the finite elements of our analysis tools.

Photo of Matt Carney

Matt Carney

The Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT

Matt Carney is a research assistant pursuing further graduate degrees in the Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT Media Lab. His experience has been diverse, yet, acutely focused as a mechanical design engineer orbiting within the fields of robotics and product design. He has spent most of his professional years working at Bay Area hardware startups including designing/building humanoid robots at Meka Robotics and Redwood Robotics, designing smartphones at IDEO, engineering robotic kites at Makani Power, and developing manufacturing processes for implantable medical devices at The Polymer Technology Group. Matt was trained with formal degrees in mechanical engineering from CalPoly and UC Berkeley, along with many hours hanging around old dudes in shops. His technical interests include mechatronics, precision machining/fabrication, design tools, rapid prototype deployment, and generally building cool shit.

He believes you should always build, at least, the first of whatever you design, and always design without ego.