Saturday, March 31, 2007

Self Replicating Robots

Cornell University researchers have created a machine that can build copies of it. Though the robots do not perform any useful function yet, they are proof of the concept. This principle could be extended to self repairing which would be a great milestone and work wonders in the Space industry and other hazardous working environments. Self-replicating machines have been the subject of theoretical discussion since the early days of computing and robotics, but only two physical devices that can replicate have been reported. One uses Lego parts assembled in a two-dimensional pattern by moving along tracks; another uses an arrangement of wooden tiles that tumble into a new arrangement when given a shove. The robots are made up of a series of modular cubes -- called "molecubes" -- each containing identical machinery and the complete computer program for replication. The cubes have electromagnets on their faces that allow them to selectively attach to and detach from one another, and a complete robot consists of several cubes linked together. Each cube is divided in half along a long diagonal, which allows a robot composed of many cubes to bend, reconfigure and manipulate other cubes. For example, a tower of cubes can bend itself over at a right angle to pick up another cube. To begin replication, the stack of cubes bends over and sets its top cube on the table. Then it bends to one side or another to pick up a new cube and deposit it on top of the first. By repeating the process, one robot made up of a stack of cubes can create another just like itself. Since one robot cannot reach across another robot of the same height, the robot being built assists in completing its own construction. Although these experimental robots work only in the limited laboratory environment, the idea of making self-replicating robots out of self-contained modules could be used to build working robots that could self-repair by replacing defective modules. For example, robots sent to explore Mars could carry a supply of spare modules to use for repairing or rebuilding as needed, allowing for more flexible, versatile and robust missions. Self-replication and repair also could be crucial for robots working in environments where a human with a screwdriver couldn't survive. Vignesh Viswanathan - U045971E Reference: http://ccsl.mae.cornell.edu/research/selfrep/ http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/May05/selfrep.ws.html

5 comments:

dars.security said...

This is an extremely useful development for space missions as the self replication concept can be used in the construction of structures on other planets. For example, the soil on the moon can be used in conjuction with the machinery and code to form a single molecube. This would save the costs of transporting soil or construction material across space. Only the machinery and program code is needed for construction using the self replication process.

dars.security said...

This is an extremely useful development for space missions as the self replication concept can be used in the construction of structures on other planets. For example, the soil on the moon can be used in conjuction with the machinery and code to form a single molecube. This would save the costs of transporting soil or construction material across space. Only the machinery and program code is needed for construction using the self replication process.

U036378U Boo Junyou

Edutainment said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Edutainment said...

A self replicating robot! - is indeed such a shocking yet amazing concoction. Human tendencies and processes have been mapped by scientists in the world of inanimity that with the addition of some "Karma" aspects, these concoctions can be considered another class of living beings!

On the serious note, this invention could have several benefits in the future.

What are the technicalities of construction of these self replicating machines though? How exactly do these robots self replicate?

Rajalakshmi Raghavan (u036804N)

Industry said...

As of now, the robots are basically hardcoded to form specific shapes. As mentioned in the post, the cubes have electromagnets and motors which enables it to orient itself to the particular shape and stick with the other cubes.Since only 4 cubes form the structure of this robot, the shapes are quite limited. Also the robot has not been developed with vision, so it cannot replicate just by observing an object.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2338968448169667271

The above link is a video of how the robot replicates. Hope this helps.

Cheers

Vignesh