Robotic Evolutionary Self-Programming and Self-Assembling Organisms
(duration: 03/2008 - 09/2013 /// funding: Cordis FP7 - Cognitive Systems and Robotics)
The Replicator project focuses on the development of an advanced robotic system, consisting of a super-large-scale swarm of small autonomous mobile micro-robots that are capable of self-assembling into large artificial organisms. These robotic organisms posses common energy and information buses as well as reliable legged, wheeled or climbing locomotion, based om modular sub-systems which can be autonomously reconfigured. Thanks to the heterogeneity of the elementary robots and their capability to share resources and communicate, the robotic organisms are able to achieve a large computational power, and rich close-and far-range sensing. The energy is autonomously harvested from external power sources.
The main goal of the project is to develop novel principles underlying these robotic organisms, such as self-configuration, self-adjustment, and self learning. The bio-inspired evolutionary approach and evolvable hardware structure adopted in this project enable the robotic organisms to emerge new functionalities, to develop their own cognitive and control structures and, finally, to work autonomously in uncertain situations without human supervision. Ultimately, these robotic organisms, which are extremely adaptive, robust, scalable and rich in sensing and actuating capabilities, will be used to build autonomous sensor networks, capable of self-spreading and self-maintaining in open-ended, even hazardous, environments.
Replicator Tech Blog (by Anne van Rossum) gives a detailed look into the Replicator kitchen.
Robot Cognition - a hotspot for research on robot cognition; anything that makes a robot smart.
Mensenmassa's en dierenzwermen (video), Labyrint, 26 October 2011