Researchers at the University of Oslo are developing a system called Generative Design that allows robots to evolve themselves: the idea is that the computer simulates scenarios in order to achieve its preset goal, 3D prints a version of itself, and then tests out if it works. While the robots currently have to be assembled by humans, next-generation 4D-printers would not only print but also assemble the robots, opening up a variety of operational possibilities for the machines.
The labs latest robot, “Number Four,” which is made up of sausage like plastic parts linked together with servo motors, is trying out different gaits, attempting to figure out the best way to move from one end of the floor to the other. And while you might look at this video and think it’s weird, or funny remember that this is just the start. Today it’s evolving, trying to learn how to move from A to B in the most efficient manner, but tomorrow – well, it could be “evolving” anything, and all at a much faster rate than humans.
By constantly monitoring its own progress and comparing it with previous attempts, over time it gets visibly better at this simple task.
“It’s now testing variations of its original movement pattern,” says Kyrre Glette, associate professor at the University of Oslo’s research group for robotics and intelligent systems.
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