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In Its Own Image: Simple robot replicates itself block by block

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12:36pm, May 11, 2005

No robot can reproduce the way that algal cells, begonias, and people can. However, an automaton that's little more than a stack of blocks has shown that it, too, can make more of its own kind.

Self-replicating robots could be a boon for space exploration and for jobs such as clearing minefields, says Hod Lipson of Cornell University, who led the new research. Ideally, he says, self-copying robots would build coworkers from materials on hand and also repair themselves.

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