Spider-like robots which are equipped with 3D printing technology have been developed to work together and construct complex structures and surfaces.
Researchers in the US have demonstrated a prototype of these bots, called SiSpis. They could be the latest step in the development of autonomous mobile manufacturing techniques.
A team at Siemens Corporate Technology’s Princeton campus developed the devices which Siemens’ believes could have a major role in manufacturing. Livio Dalloro, who heads up the group behind the systems, said to The Engineer: “We are looking at using multiple autonomous robots for collaborative additive manufacturing of structures, such as car bodies, the hulls of ships and airplane fuselages.”
How do the Siemens SiSpis Work?
The SiSpis were both designed and built almost entirely in-house. Each spider has been underpinned by a modified version of Siemens’ NX PLM software.
On top of this, every spider is able to print a cornstarch-and-sugarcane substance (known as PLA), so each has an extruder similar to that of a 3D printer.
The robots also have both laser scanners and cameras onboard. They allow them to figure out exactly where they are meaning they also know the range of their 3D printer arm.
The SiSpis will know how much of an area they can cover. The other robots use the same technique to cover neighboring areas. This means that two or more devices can easily collaborate on the additive manufacture or surface processing of a single object or area.
This is all down to algorithms which allow multi-robot task planning and means by dividing each area into vertical boxes, the robots can work collaboratively to cover even complex shapes.
Another fascinating aspect about these spiders may be the fact that because they exactly know where they are, a device is able to autonomously find its way back to a charging station when its batteries are low. This is after they transmit a progress report to a recharged, ready-to-go spider, of course.
What do you think about these spider bots? Let us know in the comments.
License: The text of "Siemens Spider-Bots 3D Print Together" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.