Two Steps towards a Mechanically Autonomous Self-replicating System
We propose a design methodology for self-replicating robots and describe two robots we have designed using our methodology. We specify our target system as a mechanically autonomous team of remote control Lego robots capable of constructing all members of the team from individual pieces of Lego. Each member is responsible for a specific type of work and the design process proceeds by validating sub-teams. To validate a candidate sub-team we demonstrate that each member of the sub-team is capable of doing all the work of its type required for the construction of each member of the sub-team. Other types of work, which would be done by other members of a complete team, are done manually. This methodology allows us to face the essential difficulties of the self-referential design task without building a complete system. We describe the design and validation of a two-member sub-team including a tapper robot, responsible for piece-connection work, and a vehicle robot, responsible for robot-positioning work.
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