Do Spider Robots Dream of 3D Printing?

Credit: Siemens Robotics Lab In the classic children’s book “Charlotte’s Web,” humans are amazed by a talented spider that can weave words into her web. Spider-inspired robots could also someday amaze humans by behaving as mobile 3D printers that squirt liquid plastic instead of spinning silk. The German technology giant Siemens has been developing robotic and artificial intelligence technologies that could potentially enable swarms of such spider-worker robots to work together in building aircraft and ships. The dream of mobile 3D printing arose from an annual Siemens competition that asks company researchers to propose and vote on technological innovation projects. The spider-worker robots proposed by the U.S. region of Siemens won the hearts and minds of the company’s engineers and robotics researchers and officially kicked off in January 2014. But Siemens does not necessarily plan on turning the…

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