Desktop Manufacturing with Micro-robot Swarm
Develop a swarm of micro-robotic fabrication machines that will enable the manufacture of new materials and components. Address the major technical issues in developing these micro-robotic machines, the platform hardware, and the architecture for their communication and control.
A micro-robot swarm should be able to perform material synthesis and component assembly, concurrently. The micro-robots could be designed to perform basic operations such as pick and place, dispense liquids, print inks, remove material, join components, etc. These micro-robots should be able to move cooperatively within a workspace to achieve highly efficient synthesis and assembly. This behavior should be programmable, in particular, the micro-robotic behavior should be more adaptive as the ability for real-time in-situ sensing increases. The research focus is on the enabling manufacturing technology; however, as a proof-of-concept demonstration, a component of interest will be produced by this technology that highlights its unique capability. Examples of complex material systems of potential interest include but are not limited to: multi-functional materials, programmable materials, metamorphic materials, extreme materials, heterogeneous materials, synthetic materials, etc.
PHASE I: Develop proof-of-concept for manufacturing with distributed micro-robot swarm. Select any complex material system of interest to Navy/DoD, and, based on it, design and develop hardware for task-specific micro-robots and overall desktop manufacturing platform, and software for communication and control algorithms. Develop the architecture for a networked real-time embedded system, i.e., cyber-enabled manufacturing, to design, plan and operate this micro-factory for desktop manufacturing.
PHASE II: Build a micro-robot swarm system that is capable parallel processing in the production the selected complex material system. Demonstrate operation of micro-robotic swarm system in the manufacture of prototype complex material system of interest. Ensure accuracy in material placement, consistency in product quality, and reliability in production.
PHASE III: Transition the micro-robot swarm desktop manufacturing technology to critical military use and the civilian sector. Build marketable manufacturing units and demonstrate the fabrication of test-beds.
PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: A successful swarm micro-robot desktop manufacturing system would be useful for a variety of commercial applications. Such a manufacturing platform can be used to create super-strong components, ultra-lightweight materials, composite and hierarchical structures, complex part geometries, and/or multi-functional components.
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Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.