A University of Cambridge team of researchers has created a “mother robot” capable of building its own — baby robots.
Researchers have programmed a robot arm capable of assembling or making robot babies.The robot arm or “mother” is programmed with an algorithm that allows it to assemble monitor-holding blocks or little baby robots!
The mother robots can build babies out of of mechanised blocks, and then create new ones that evolve from the previous generation.The findings show that robots could be able to evolve on their own, in the same way that animals and humans have. Like biological evolution, the robots mother could look out for the best traits in her children, and then use those to improve the following generations of robots.
According to a report by CNBC, the mother robot assembles the block babies and then uses a camera to detect how far its babies are able to travel. It then learns from its mistakes on its first babies, modifies its building process and makes its later babies better than the previous ones, giving them the ability to travel farther. Kinda like how parents improve on parenting as they have more children, but robotic-like and more to do with the creation process than the raising one.
In five different experiments, robot set the mother which looks like a big robotic arm to work building generations of ten different children. They were built out of small plastic cubes with motors inside.
Each of the robots carries a “genome”, made up of different genes, like humans do.During the experiment, the children were tested to see how far they could travel in a given time. The characteristics of the winning robots would be kept, while the losing ones would be discarded.
The process of robot evolution could give us some insight into how humans came about too, according to the researchers.
“One of the big questions in biology is how intelligence came about – we’re using robotics to explore this mystery,” said Fumiya Lida of Cambridge’s department of engineering in a statement. “We think of robots as performing repetitive tasks, and they’re typically designed for mass production instead of mass customization, but we want to see robots that are capable of innovation and creativity.”
And it might also eventually help us create robots that can improve themselves without any input from humans at all. At the moment, robots require us to fix them — they wouldn’t themselves begin to stand up on their hind legs, for instance but eventually that might change.
The video below shows the mother robot works making a baby robot: