- Researchers at MIT are developing materials and objects that can be programmed to assemble themselves, according to Fast Company Design.
- If the projects succeed, they could have major implications on manufacturing and other industries.
- A recent ComputerWorld report found companies are growing less interested in moving IT offshore and are instead looking to automate more tasks.
MIT researcher Skylar Tibbits is exploring how, “with a few components, a source of energy, and the right interactions,” a cell phone could "build itself,” according to Fast Company Design.
"If you look at how things are manufactured at every other scale other than the human scale—look at DNA and cells and proteins, then look at the planetary scale—everything is built through self-assembly," said Tibbits. "But at the human scale, it's the opposite. Everything is built top down. We take components and we force them together."
Tibbits says the self-assembly method could potentially automate a number of processes at a much lower cost.
According to recent studies, the market for robotic process automation (RPA), where software-based "robots" automate a broad range of tasks, is expanding as enterprises looks to trim costs and boost efficiencies. A recent ComputerWorld report found cheap overseas labor is becoming less appealing than technology that automates enterprise functions such as infrastructure management or business process outsourcing.