Roombots: autonomous, mobile, evolutionary self-assembling furniture

Roombots are autonomous, roving furniture segments that cruise around your house, looking for each other and spontaneously organizing themselves into furnishings that evolve based on how you use them. It's a project from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

This project intends to design and control modular robots, called Roombots, to be used as building blocks for furniture that moves, self-assembles, self-reconfigures, and self-repairs. Modular robots are robots made of multiple simple robotic modules that can attach and detach (Wikipedia: Self-Reconfiguring Modular Robotics). Connectors between units allow the creation of arbitrary and changing structures depending on the task to be solved. Compared to "monolithic" robots, modular robots offer higher versatility and robustness against failure, as well as the possibility of self-reconfiguration. The type of scenario that we envision for the Rolex Learning Center is a group of Roombots that autonomously connect to each other to form different types of furniture, e.g. stools, chairs, sofas and tables, depending on user requirements. This furniture will change shape over time (e.g. a stool becoming a chair, a set of chairs becoming a sofa) as well as move using actuated joints to different locations depending on the users needs. When not needed, the group of modules can create a static structure such as a wall or a box.

Roombots: Modular robotics for adaptive and self-organizing furniture

(via Beyond the Beyond)