"BitDrones brings flying programmable matter
, such as featured in the futuristic Disney movie Big Hero 6, closer to reality," says Dr.
The hope is that, as the actuators and tiles are made increasingly small and durable, a simple sheet of programmable matter
can be made into an infinitely reconfigurable device that's able to turn into useful tools.
Programmable matter poses additional challenges that arise from limited resources, an ever-changing topology of network connections that result from the units moving around, and high action-uncertainty as a result of the constant interaction with the physical world.
2007) (that can be viewed as an early form of programmable matter).
According to a report in news.com.au, programmable matter
, or "claytronics", involves creating devices made of millions of microscopic robots that are to 3D objects what pixels are to a screen.
Later that year, Michael Barnstijn, cofounder of Blackberry maker Research In Motion, read the book and was so impressed that he staked McCarthy with $1 million to start a programmable-matter company, the aptly named Programmable Matter Corp.
Emerging as the self-described "de facto expert" on programmable matter, McCarthy left his full-time gig at Wired to focus on the startup.
Wellstone iron would be one example of programmable matter. It would not be as conductive, strong, or ferromagnetic as its natural counterpart, McCarthy explains.
Aside from the possibilities of nifty new parlor games--turning rock into paper into scissors, for instance--other applications for programmable matter could improve daily life.
CAM-8 thus "embodies the concept of 'programmable matter,'" the researchers suggest in a report to appear this summer in the Dutch journal PHYSICAL D.
"In programmable matter, the same cubic meter of machinery can become a wind tunnel at one moment, a polymer soup at the next; it can model a sea of fermions [elementary particles], a genetic pool or an epidemiology experiment at the flick of a console key," they write.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Maximum Mobility and Manipulation and Programmable Matter