Researchers led by the University of Cambridge have built a mother robot that can build its own children, test which one does best, and automatically use the results to inform the design of the next generation — passing down preferential traits automatically.
Without any human intervention or computer simulation, beyond the initial command to build a robot capable of movement, the mother created children constructed of between one and five plastic cubes with a small motor inside.
In each of five separate experiments, the mother designed, built and tested generations of ten children, using the information gathered from one generation to inform the design of the next.
Morphological Evolution of Physical Robots through Model-Free Phenotype Development. PLOS ONE (2015) | DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128444