From: Strata Rose Chalup (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Aug 31 2000 - 13:06:07 PDT
-- ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Strata Rose Chalup [email@example.com] | firstname.lastname@example.org, KF6NBZ Director of Network Operations | VirtualNet Consulting KnowNow, Inc [http://www.knownow.com] | http://www.virtual.net/ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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By Matthew Fordahl
The Associated Press
Aug. 30 A computer programmed to follow the rules of evolution has for the first time designed and manufactured simple robots with minimal help from people.
The 8-inch automatons did not take over the world or even vacuum the lab. Instead, they crawled across a tabletop, exactly as they were digitally bred to do, said Jordan Pollack, a computer scientist at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.
Its not what our robots do that is so surprising, he said. Theyre not humanoid robots they dont raise their eyebrows and make you giggle. But what they did do was autonomously designed and manufactured.
Closer to Solving Two Big Obstacles
Structure Forever Evolving
The computer that evolved the designs was told only what parts it would be working with, the physics of the environment in which its offspring would be moving, and the goal of locomotion.
Over several days, the computer thought up different designs and methods of movement, creating traits that worked and failed. Like dinosaurs, woolly mammoths and dodo birds, the failures were cast into the dustbin of history.
The most promising designs survived and passed their success to future generations. Hundreds of generations later, three robots were manufactured by a prototyping machine.
It evolved various kinds of locomotive mechanisms all surprising, given there was no human coming up with how to do it, Pollack said. We got ratcheting motions. We got rolling motions. We got swimming motions.
Copyright 2000 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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