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    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2009
    Claytronics is developing tiny computers that can work
    together to form shapes. This cylindrical prototype is
    about 3cm across, 10 times bigger than the goal.

    Programmable Matter: Claytronics or Gershenfeld


    We still tell our children “you can be anything when you grow up.” It’s time to start telling them “you’re going to be able to make anything…right now.” Similar work at MIT and Carnegie Mellon is pointing towards the next revolution in computers and manufacturing: programmable matter. In the future you won’t use computers to design a car, the car will form from billions of tiny computers that arrange themselves into anything you want. The physical and computational world will merge. Hope you’re ready.

    How can a material be intelligent? By being made up of particle-sized machines. At Carnegie Mellon, with support from Intel, the project is called Claytronics. The idea is simple: make basic computers housed in tiny spheres that can connect to each other and rearrange themselves. It’s the same concept as we saw with Modular Robotics, only on a smaller scale. Each particle, called a Claytronics atom or Catom, is less than a millimeter in diameter. With billions you could make almost any object you wanted.
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    I can’t help but dream of the sex-toy market.