Robots May One Day Reproduce
Machine replicates itself in modular experiment
WEDNESDAY, May 11, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- A machine that can reproduce itself has been created by Cornell University researchers.
The proof-of-concept machine serves no purpose other than to build copies of itself. However, it's possible the basic principle of the machine could be extended to create robots that could self-replicate or repair themselves. These kinds of robots would be useful for work in space or in hazardous environments.
The machines are constructed of a series of modular cubes that each contain identical machinery and the complete computer program for replication. Electromagnets are on the outside of the cubes, enabling them to selectively attach and detach from each other. A complete machine consists of several linked cubes.
The cubes are designed so that a machine composed of many cubes can bend, reconfigure and manipulate other cubes.
The research is featured in the May 12 issue of Nature.
Wikipedia has more on replicating machines.