US robot builds copies of itself
By Roland Pease
BBC science correspondent
US researchers have devised a simple robot that can make copies of
itself from spare parts.
Writing in Nature, the robot's creators say their experiment shows the
ability to reproduce is not unique to biology. Their long-term plan is
to design robots made from hundreds or thousands of identical basic
modules. These could repair themselves if parts fail, reconfigure
themselves to better perform the task they have been set, or even to
make extra helpers. So far, the robots, if they can be called that,
consist of just three or four mobile cubes.
Each unit comes with a small computer code carrying a blueprint for the
layout of the robot, electrical contacts to let it communicate with its
neighbours, and magnets to let them stick together.