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Squishy Robots Evolve to Run

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A computer representation of a robot.

Researchers have used the power of evolution to demonstrate how a soft robot can evolve to walk, and even run, over 1,000 generations.

Credit: Cornell University/University of Wyoming

Researchers at Cornell University have released a video that shows the evolution of a creature into a galloping, soft robot over 1,000 generations.

The team has given evolution the ability to create robots with synthetic materials akin to muscle, tissue, and bone, using concepts from developmental biology and how nature builds complex animals, from jellyfish to jaguars. The result is simulated robots that evolve a diverse series of gaits and gallops.

The robots consist of soft and hard materials. The researchers challenged human engineers to attempt to design robots fashioned from such materials, although these efforts were minuscule compared to the designs resulting from evolution.

The research was financed by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Open Manufacturing Program. The team from the Creative Machines Lab describes the work in a paper to be presented at the Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference in Amsterdam.

From Cornell Chronicle
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Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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