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.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4538547.stm