Fwd: [rp-ml] Slow growth

From: Rachel Park <rachel_at_rapidnews.com>
Date: Tue Apr 29 2008 - 16:56:21 EEST

I believe the work in the UK was (and still is) being conducted by Dr
Rupert Soar at Loughborough University. He has published and presented
on his findings in the recent past and it is amazing.

Best, Rachel

Rachel Park | Editor | Conference Manager
t: +44 (0) 1244 533674
e: rachel@rapidnews.com
w: www.tctmagazine.com

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> From: "Marshall Burns" <ListMail@fabbers.com>
> Date: 29 April 2008 13:44:56 BST
> To: "'Brock Hinzmann'" <bhinzmann@sric-bi.com>, "'Adrian Bowyer'" <A.Bowyer@bath.ac.uk
> >
> Cc: <rp-ml@rapid.lpt.fi>
> Subject: RE: [rp-ml] Slow growth
> Hi Brock, Adrian, Stewart,
> Yes, this is really interesting stuff. Several years ago I talked
> with some robotics folks at UC Berkeley about a proposed project on
> what we
> called "synthetic termites." Termites are amazing critters. They
> chew up
> wood and, coordinating the work of thousands of them simultaneously,
> spew
> clumps of it semi-digested in patterns to build structures that are
> awesome
> for both their size and complexity. African termite mounds can be up
> to 30
> feet tall. The walls are semi-permeable, so that the mound functions
> as a
> huge, communal lung, extracting oxygen from passing wind and
> exhaling carbon
> dioxide. The structures have rooms to accommodate the queen and
> thousands of
> drones. The termite mound is a marvel of natural fabrication.
> There's a guy from this RP community at a UK university whose name
> escapes me at the moment who did a project in an African desert some
> years
> ago where they encapsulated and physically sliced a termite mound to
> digitize its structure.
> The idea of coordinating the actions of thousands or millions of
> autonomous microrobots to pick up tiny pieces of some raw material and
> deposit it in patterns to build up predetermined structures is one
> of the
> ultimate concepts in digital fabrication. I look forward to seeing
> some
> people pick up and implement this idea.
> Regards,
> Marshall Burns
> www.fabbers.com <<< Warning: Severely outdated site,
> but with some cool old stuff.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-rp-ml@rapid.lpt.fi [mailto:owner-rp-ml@rapid.lpt.fi] On
> Behalf
> Of Brock Hinzmann
> Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 01:53
> To: Adrian Bowyer
> Cc: rp-ml@rapid.lpt.fi
> Subject: Re: [rp-ml] Slow growth
> Dear Adrian,
> Yours is not an inconceivable application of existing and relatively
> near-term technologies. A number of robot art projects exist that do
> essentially what you propose. I only wish I had a paying client to put
> it all together.
> First of all, your idea to combine it with Marshall's Moon concept is
> brilliant. A robot that has all of the time in the world to trek
> across
> a planet (Mars and Venus also come to mind), powered by very low
> levels
> of solar radiation, able to work slowly, tediously, but predictably,
> in
> a space and time that no human would or could tolerate, has tremendous
> economical advantages. We can also imagine applications here on Earth.
> I have even seen concepts where a living plant shifts its weight in
> response to the position of the sun, in order to create enough
> pressure
> for a pedal, like a footfall on a bicycle, to move a robot forward. We
> are talking really slow progress here, a foot a day, but a robot
> doesn't
> care.
> If we are talking about preparing a far-off planet for some eventual
> human occupation, then we may not care about slowly the robots work to
> prepare an infrastructure, such as a solar-powered communications
> network, as long as it progresses at a predictable rate. If the space
> agencies could send robots well in advance, such a network could
> have a
> variety of scientific research and environmental evaluation
> applications
> that would be valuable, whether or not a human team is eventually sent
> to live there.
> Vast sections of Earth, deserts, outbacks, etc., could serve as
> testing
> grounds of more immediate value. While many of these might be of
> social
> benefit, the money to pay for them is limited. I have had some
> thoughts
> recently that alternative financing methods are possible, such as
> environmentally-concerned individuals willing to pay money to support
> poor remote rural individuals to install and monitor [robots, in this
> case, and] networks or the use of carbon credits or other alternative
> currency/money systems to trade service for service or other values.
> Perhaps Adrian has other contacts in the open-source world that are
> more
> creative than I am in this regard.
> Brock Hinzmann
> Technology Navigator
> Adrian Bowyer wrote:
>> Quoting Stewart Dickson <mathart@emsh.calarts.edu>:
>>> Back in the old days, Marshall Burns wrote essays proposing SLS
>>> machines which ran on sand.
>>> A new way to build a pyramid.
>>> If it would work on Mars, it would work in Africa.
>> I have thought for some time that it would be fun to build a robot
>> that crawled very very slowly across sand, digging it up, refining
>> it,
>> extracting trace elements, and using the results to make PV cells
>> inefficiently and badly.
>> These it would leave connected up in a trail behind it as it moved
>> forward a few meters per day. The cells would provide all the power
>> it needed, of course.
>> But what on Earth could we do with all the spare power that would be
>> available after it had been left to wander about in a desert for a
>> few
>> years? There must be some use for it...
>> Best wishes
>> Adrian
>> Dr Adrian Bowyer
>> http://staff.bath.ac.uk/ensab
>> http://reprap.org
Received on Tue Apr 29 15:08:22 2008

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