Robotics researchers have been experimenting with robots that are composed of a number of robotic ‘cells’ that are all identical, rather than designing a robot that has a variety of different parts each designed to perform a certain function. This approach allows cellular robots to take different configurations in different situations, and some researchers have proposed robots that would invent new configurations for themselves to deal with unforeseen situations.
Espresso Blocks are cellular robotic building blocks that are delivered to a site on a pallet and then assemble themselves into one of several pre-configured structures. Using a remote control, the occupant can cycle between different structures throughout the day to accommodate different activities such as an espresso stand during the day, a dining room in the evening, and a bedroom at night. The occupant can also rearrange individual blocks with their remote control to create new configurations, save them to their remote, and even trade designs with others.