Tiny Robots May Build your Next Home
Kagan Pittman posted on October 05, 2015 | 5369 views
Interior design is about to get a lot more sci-fi thanks to Asmbld, a Brooklyn, NY startup and their little robots which may one day live under our floors and furnish our homes. That doesn’t sound creepy at all.

Called “Project Dom Indoors,” the company has demonstrated tiny 5x5x5in (10x10x10cm) proof-of-concept robots that operate within a void filled with cubes under a floor, which rise up to take on the shape of furniture and walls.

The robots will be capable transforming bed rooms into play rooms or offices into lounges. All of this could be done by command through an app on a smart phone.

The robots are able to orient themselves using light sensors and markers on the surface below them as they assemble structures layer by layer atop outlines. The robots use frame beams and connectors made of metal and surface tiles made from metal, glass, wood, or plastic to build the structures.

Lifting robots, using DC motors, lift completed layers up while another robot secures new supports underneath it. For heavier structures, multiple robots will work together to get the job done.

“We estimate that it would take 1-3 minutes to assemble and lift every 6 inch layer,” Asmbld told ENGINEERING.com. “Thus a wall would take 15-45 minutes to assemble. The more robots are deployed, the faster the assembly speed.”

The robots are able to build almost any custom 3D, flat, solid, object. If a user wanted to hit the hay, just wait 30 minutes for the robots to build a bed. Once finished, throw a mattress, pillows and blankets over the new bedframe.

Considering the toy-like appearance of the system (think Minecraft), concerns about children interfering with it are real. Asmbld stated, “The Dom Indoors system was designed around the goal to make frequent indoor reconfiguration technically possible and safe. Robots are hidden under the floor and out of reach so that even a child could reconfigure a room.” Parents should supervise anyhow.

The Dom Indoors system is capable of being integrated into almost any open space and would cost about $12,000 to install in a 500sq. ft. room. An installed system would raise a floor five inches, so tall people may need to watch their heads.

The advantage of a totally-customizable room would save money by removing the need to buy furniture – just tell the robots to make it, however no cushioning not included.

“In most large cities, the price of real estate is increasing faster than incomes. It pushes people and businesses into ever smaller spaces. So the question is, how can we fit more space into the same space? Reconfiguration could help accommodate multiple-use scenarios in tiny environments,” the company website reads.

The researchers and engineers of Asmbld believe the technology could reduce construction and demolition waste as redesigning a room produces none.

They also hope their technology may one day make an impact in construction and civil engineering.

“Asmbld researches larger scale robotic construction as well,” the company stated. “We don't expect buildings to be reconfigured as frequently as interiors, but it's a very important strategic direction.”

Project Dom Indoors is still in research stages, but the Asmbld team states installations may be available in four to six months.

To learn more about Asmbld and Project Dom Indoors, visit asmbld.com/dom-indoors.

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