Date of Original Version
Abstract or Description
Claytronics is a form a programmable matter that takes the concept of modular robots to a new extreme. The concept of modular robots has been around for some time. (See  for a survey.) Previous approaches to modular robotics sought to create an ensemble of tens or even hundreds of small autonomous robots which could, through coordination, achieve a global effect not possible by any single unit. In general the goal of these projects was to adapt to the environment to facilitate, for example, improved locomotion. Our work on claytronics departs from previous work in several important ways. One of the primary goals of claytronics is to form the basis for a new media type, pario. Pario, a logical extension of audio and video, is a media type used to reproduce moving 3D objects in the real world. A direct result of our goal is that claytronics must scale to millions of micron-scale units. Having scaling (both in number and size) as a primary design goal impacts the work significantly.