The blocks shown in the video above are modular robots with no external moving parts that can be reconfigured. Their ability to move comes from using the momentum of an internal flywheel, allowing the ability to climb, jump, spin, and roll around without wheels or legs. The goal of MIT scientists for this project is to design self-assembling and self-reconfiguring robot systems.
The long term goal is to have swarms of self-assembling microbots that can reconfigure themselves into many forms, shapes, sizes, and even functions. However, the researchers have believe that there are also short term uses as well. For example, a large number of cubes could be used to repair buildings or bridges or assemble furniture and heavy equipment. The ability to have an army of cubes that can come together and autonomously transform into various forms on demand brings new light to robotics and assembly.