Self-replicating toy robot

August 25, 2006

Undaunted by the distant prospect of the grey goo problem, researchers at Cornell University have constructed a modular, self-replicating toy robot:

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.

By turning and moving, the cubes can pick up new units, decide where they belong, and stack them alongside each other to make new devices.

In a little more than a minute, a simple three-cube robot can make a copy of itself. (BBC)

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