While we mostly like to post news about real robots doing real robot-y things, it's sometimes fun to take a look at impossible concepts, especially if they're a.) utterly insane and b.) provide enough foundation for us to convince ourselves that they're not actually completely entirely totally impossible, even if they are.
Adrian Perez Zapata's futuristic concept, which he calls "Mab," envisions a swarm of tiny flying robots zipping around your house to clean surfaces, before returning to a spherical home base. Here's the summary:
Mab is a self cleaning system consisting of 908 robots which clean the surface of a floor with a drop touching and trapping the dirt particles on the floor. These robots also fulfill the task of feeding the system energy by capturing solar energy in its wings. The second component of the Mab is the core, which the robots returns to, and this central part handles multiple tasks: it generates the mixture of water with an additive that gives higher surface tension and a pleasant odor to the water; it is controlling the robot based on information they are providing of the environment; receiving contaminated droplets and filters it to remove the dirt from the water, saving the highest percentage possible and cleans its walking surfaces.The following summarizes the 7-step cleaning process:
- Mixes the water and the substance that gives greater surface tension.
- The mixture is distributed to subordinates - robots
- The robots fly with the load. The robots use a propeller for flying.
- The robots cleaning by touching the surface with their droplet of fluid
- The droplet captures the dirt and carries it back to the core
- The core filters the dirt out
- The core recovers the highest possible percentage of water to restart the cycleThe thought behind Mab is to restore a sense of wonder in the everyday life, and to recapture the magic in simple processes, providing human shelters an autonomous purification.
It's a little bit hard to tell from the pictures just how small the the flying robots are, but they're seriously tiny. Getting robots that small to fly at all, much less fly intelligently, is exceptionally difficult, but not impossible, as Harvard is trying to show with their Robobee project.
We recognize, of course, that concept designs like this require little (or no) basis in reality. But they're fun to think about, especially when we have these lovely renderings to look at.