MIT Duo Creates Algorithm To Power Replicating “Smart Sand”

Inanimate matter programmed to spontaneously create duplicates of any object. That’s what MIT student Kyle Gilpin and computer science and engineering professor Daniela Rus have figured out how to do (in theory, of course). The duo’s research project and subsequent paper they co-authored (to be presented at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in May) details an algorithm by which “smart pebbles” or “smart sand” could be programmed to form duplicate three-dimensional shapes based on the original item.

From MIT News, the best way to imagine how this would work is to think of immersing a small item (they use a footstool as an example) in this smart sand. The grains of sand read and effectively learn the shape by passing information back and forth via electric pulses sent through magnets (the magnets act to connect grains, as well as pass power and information). More accurately, the smart sand mimics shape, but through learning the space occupied by the item (specifically the border created by the item), rather than the item itself.

Hang on a second. You know who can explain this better? Paper co-author and PhD Kyle Gilpin himself:

The implications for scaling this technology are pretty amazing. Smart sand technology could theoretically be used to re-create broken mechanical parts; manufacture new tools or other items; or to take smaller items and make larger, identical replicas.

You think copyright and patent laws are complicated now? Imagine the hurricane of litigation that would surround the commercial or private use of smart sand.

GNC-2009-07-10 #492 Big Shocker Tonights Show!

Big shocker tonight please do not send hate mail, I know your gonna send it anyway ;). Lot’s to share as well as a invite to come hang out for the Tech Podcast Network Round Table this Saturday. I also may have a live streaming event tomorrow at about 5:30pm HST visit GNC for more details. Plans for show 500 talked about as well hope you will consider being part of it. Special job announcement on the Podcast tonight as well looking for a extremely qualified candidate.

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7.2 Billion in spending decided by unpaid Volunteers?
Space Solar
Pandora cuts a mind numbing deal!
Cyber attacks Galore
NASA needs it’s own DARPA?
CA Antivirus False Positives?
Microsoft left users exposed to big bug for 16-18 Months?
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Control Apple TV with iPhone or iTouch
Short URL’s causing issues for Antivirus Vendors
iPhone 3gs Hacking is real Smooth
NASA to try on Saturday Evening for Launch Shuttle.
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As fast as the Speed of Light!
New Rocket gets put together at KSC
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The True Speed of the iPhone 3G Slow
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Rogers Canada starts DOCSIS 3.0 50Mbps Service (Not Cheap)!
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We be slow here in the United States?
People working Cheaper, More duties and much Longer Hours!
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GNC-2007-07-17 #285

Best wishes go out to Derek and his family on his recovery from surgery to stop the spread of cancer. I play one of his songs at the end of the show be sure to check out his website!

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Show Notes:
Verizon Copper
FIOS Traps Customers
Broadcast.com IPO Slides
MIT Open Courseware
ZipTorrent Evil
Sleep is for the Week
RIAA Spend versus return Ration
Immediate Media Age
Cell Tower Attack
Net Radio and DRM
RIAA Pays Big Finally
ADM Thoughts
Windows Home Server RTM
Lego Carrier
33 Percent want iPhone
Pownce, Twitter, Jaiku, Tumblr One Post
SEO Secrets
Billeo
PalTalk
5min.com
Xinu
NASA Contracts on Engines Signed
Small Laptops
Engaging Brand
iPhone Bugs
Coolers Masters NotePal
AllTunes 1 Visa ?
Rolling Blackouts Coming?
CDN Space competition coming
FIOS Tricks
Astronauts Launch Trials
Hacker Unlocks Microsoft DRM
Google Knows All!
iPhone WiFi