A robot that can create and program its own progeny? The future is already here. Westend61/Getty Images Advertisement Fan of the “Terminator” movies? You’ve seen successive generations of the android assassins develop increasingly fearsome abilities in their quest to kill future human rebel leader John Connor. But while the movies are entertaining, you might think the idea of robots evolving on their own seems pretty far-fetched — or at least, not something that’s going to happen in the foreseeable future. If that’s what you think, you puny meatbag, guess again. Researchers from the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at ETH Zurich and the University of Cambridge engineering department have demonstrated that machines can build mechanical offspring, evaluate their performance, and then pass the best-performing characteristics to successive generations. In the experiment, the team of Luzius Brodbeck, Simon Hauser and Fumiya Iida created a “mother robot” that built children out of a few simple parts that were glued together. The baby robots were then transported to a testing area, where they were activated with wireless controls. Their movements were then observed with a video camera and evaluated by a software program. The software identified the designs that enabled robots to… Read full this story
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