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January 20th, 2012

Cubelets—Modular, Robotic Good Times

By John Vasko | Comments (0)
I found this while browsing Techcrunch and thought that the ChEnected audience might appreciate what I'm calling "robotic legos on steroids." Cubelets are a robotic construction kit according to the company that created them, Modular Robotics. It turns out the Modular Robotics is a new spin-off company from Carnegie Mellon University. Currently there are a total of 15 cubelets, all with different specific functions and each fitting into one of three cubelet types—action, sense, and think. You can pre-order a mini set of 6 cubelets, which includes 2 of each type, for $160 or the giant set of 15 for $520. Modular Robotics has put together a good video (viewable in the panel to the right) explaining how cubelets work. What's curious about the video is that Modular Robotics uses a "Dutch Mountain Man" to explain cubelets. It's quite well done, actually, and somewhat funny. But I started to think about how peculiar this was, mostly because there are no mountains in the Netherlands to speak of. The highest point, according to worldatlas.com, is Vaalserberg, climbing a whole 1,053 feet. So was this Dutch Mountaineer exiled to Switzerland to invent Cubelets? I was amused to find out that one day in the future he may be able to invent the next version of Cubelets on a Dutch Mountain. It turns out the the Dutch love mountains so much that some of them have thought about building one. TheWorld.Org recently did a story on this. Here's a bit about some of the architect's prototype plans:
Tummers and his partner presented a plan envisioning a snow-capped mountain sitting offshore, in Dutch waters, in the North Sea. He estimated it would take more than a trillion cubic feet of sand to build it, not to mention hundreds of billions of dollars. Another architect at the brainstorming session presented an idea for a land-based Swiss-Alps style peak made with a man-made steel structure underneath.
[caption id="attachment_35866" align="alignright" width="200" caption="The Dutch Mt. Ski Area Once Attracted Vermont Skiers "][/caption] You can listen to/read the complete story or see the photo of the prototype of a mountain in the middle of the black sea here. Doesn't this sound more like something that would be done somewhere in the United Arab Emirates? Enthusiasm for the mountain is alive and well on “The Mountain is Coming!” Facebook page: “Die Berg Komt Er!” and Twitter page @diebergkomter. But there are also naysayers, as shown on The Mountain Is Not Coming Facebook Page.

If the Dutch mountain is built, could it be made with Cubelets?

dutch mountain sign by Jon Regan via Nelsap.org
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