Shape-Shifting Robot Re-Assembles Itself, Will Chase Snotty Teens on Motorbikes One Day

University of Pennsylvania roboticists—who talk like robot versions of Alan Alda—have developed modular artificial creatures capable of recomposing themselves in case they are destroyed—effectively taking the first step toward global annihilation, thank you very much. Happily for Humanity, they are far from T1000, and closer to Jerry Lewis, as the (quite funny, yet sad) end of the video shows.

Composed of 15 modules arranged in groups of five, each of CKbot's clusters has a module with a 20fps camera, a blinking LED, and an accelerometer to reconstruct the entire robot, using magnets. The other 12 modules have an embedded computer, proximity sensors, and a servo motor that allows a rotational range of about 180 degrees.

When the main mini-Voltron-wannabe gets destroyed and the clusters are disconnected, they self-right up themselves detecting its orientation according to gravity (don't keep looking like an idiot and start running now). Once they are on position, the cameras search for the unique LED patterns, and then two closers start to approach each other at glacial speeds (by this time, you should have reached the weapons storage and grab a shotgun, five machine guns, and a grenade launcher). When the two first modules connect, they start searching for the third one (you may fire now) until they finally assemble again, forming a single entity that would inevitably destroy you if we hadn't told you the steps above.

Yes, somewhere in the future, this advice will save your life. Print it out. [New Scientist Tech]