Hidden Nook

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Friday, May 13, 2005

Robots Reproducing

[Media Source*]

(Cross Posted at Blogger News)

(EARTH TIMES) "Self reproduction is central to biological life for long-term sustainability and evolutionary adaptation. Although these traits would also be desirable in many engineered systems, the principles of self-reproduction have not been exploited by machine design. Here, we create simple machines that act as autonomous modular robots and are capable to physical self-reproduction using a set of cubes," said Hop Lipson, who spearheaded the experiment at Cornwell.

These robots, although ugly (they resemble "dice towers") now have the ability to "multiply like rabbits." One draw back to these machines is that they can only reproduce under the right conditions as they have to be in the "mood" (timing is everything) as well as have access to the appropriate "feeding stations" (aka machine food). This technology is pretty useful as it would allow machines to repair themselves instead of shipping a new bot to a location which not only can be expensive (especially if many of them keep breaking) but also save precious time as well. A description below gives more details of these new "creepy crawlers."

The modules are cube-like and possess microprocessors, sensors and electromagnets that are for increasing and reducing connections between modules. The modules allow the robot to reconfigure, bend, and control other modules...

According to Lipson, each module possesses the blueprint of the complete robot. "The program tells the modules when and where to get the new modules and where to put them," said Lipson.

Hopefully these machines won't "evolve" too quickly and result in The Matrix or even Terminator. But if this technology does progress further than mere cubes multiplying, we may ultimately find ourselves with robotic pets without the "waste" that often accompanies them.

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By Darnell Clayton • 8:23 PM • Email Post • •


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