Humans are lost without their heads, but not M-TRAN. The robot, made of 20 independent modules that each have their own “brain”, can lose any of its body parts without breaking down.
The modules of M-TRAN, which was developed by the Intelligent Systems Research Institute in Tsukuba, Japan, consist of two blocks connected by a flexing joint, powered by electric motors. Four processors in the two blocks enable each module to operate independently, and hooks allow them to latch onto each other. These hooks also relay signals, so that modules can coordinate to change the robot’s overall shape.
Previous modular robots have formed four-legged walkers, worms or wheels, but unlike M-TRAN, they were unable to function without an external computer or central brain module. Watch videos of earlier M-TRAN versions here.
Be sure to follow the link to the videos. They’re awesome.