Construction is an important part of everyday life, creating new buildings and structures whether they be for housing, storage, industrial use, shopping, entertainment, or any of hundreds of possible uses. We’ve come a long way from skyscraper workers walking along steel beams without safety equipment, but one thing that’s been on the minds of many for years now is the idea of robots being put to use instead of humans. Discovered on Ubergizmo, this Harvard project, dubbed Termes, involves a termite-like robot named Kali. Despite being based off termites and named after a goddess of destruction, the Kali robots are to be used in building rather than tearing things down.
Sure, most of our construction fantasies center around nanobots, but such technology is likely many years away from being practical, particularly for constructing a whole building rather than, well, a nanobuilding. Even the lone Kali bot shown is building a simple staircase, but the video is quite interesting to watch regardless. As the robot is unaware how high the wall is, it must use a sort of trial and error to create a staircase which will allow it to continue moving forward. It will retrace its steps to gather more building blocks, constructing a small staircase to allow it to check the next level. If it’s still not high enough, it will repeat the process, lengthening and raising the staircase until it’s just enough.
The second video shows how the little robot’s spiral-like legs allow it to traverse various terrain as well as climb low steps. There’s also a mock-up of how multiple Kali bots could be implemented in order to create a larger structure in a fraction of the time. Once finished, we see they’ve put together a little castle, not unlike something you could construct in Minecraft. With enough robots and enough time, they could probably even build their own version of the Pyramids of Giza. For more robots put to practical use, check out the iRobot Rescue Bot and the Power Loader Exoskeleton.