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It is very much like kids playing with Lego bricks making a toy house by snapping together plastic bricks - except a computer performs the shuffling operation.
This machine requires tooling and software to perform useful work. The machines are under research and development right now [current prototypes in figure 1] and may become commercially available in mid 2000. With more advanced versions of such machines, it will be possible to build a bridge in a day, a housing estate in a week, a space ship in hours,... and so on. This technology is called Digital Matter Control and it is implemented here with machines called Fractal Robots.
This machine can have additional electromechanical tools fitted such that almost anything can be carried on top of T-shaped carrier girders including glass panels, rolled sheet material, tooling carousel, work parts and pipes. Work parts are shipped to the assembly point and then robot arms or custom tools built into fractal robots perform the final assembly operation. Sheets of rolled up sheets of materials can be wrapped around hangar sized structures to make walls and roof.
Pipes networks can be laid by the cubes. The T-section can be tooled to carry pipes which are then shuffled into the assembly point where further robots attach the pipe to a connector or to more pipes with 100% automation. Joints for pipes and welding tools are carried inside cubes as fractal tools.
Such machines will be able to lay down pipes or dismantle them in complex nuclear reactor facilities where access is impossibly difficult. The fractally smaller machines reach into nooks and crannies with smaller cubes, tools and work pieces. Using such fractal machines and tooling, 100% assembly and/or repair systems is possible for complex pipe system. Uses include the oil industry, chemical industry, nuclear, and construction.
After pipes, the next and most difficult operation is the laying of cables, wires and hoses. Fractal robots with a pair of fingers for each size of cube can pick up and articulate wires through complex contours and connect them up with specialised terminating tools with 100% automation. Smaller fractal robots and fractal fingers handle smaller cables until all cabling operations is complete.
The fractal finger tool completes the list of assembly machines needed to build any man made machine or structure with 100% automation. Everything from building space stations to managing nuclear accidents with 100% automation can be implemented with this technology. All previously intractable mechanical problems in robotics have now been solved with this new branch of robotics.