Evo-Bots: A Simple, Stochastic Approach to Self-assembling Artificial Organisms

  • Juan A. EscaleraEmail author
  • Matthew J. Doyle
  • Francesco Mondada
  • Roderich Groß
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Advanced Robotics book series (SPAR, volume 6)


This paper describes an alternative path towards artificial life—one by which simple modular robots with novel hybrid motion control are used to represent artificial organisms. We outline conceptually how such a system would work, and present a partial hardware implementation. The hardware, a set of self-reconfigurable modules called the evo-bots, operates on an air table. The modules use a stop-start anchor mechanism to either rest or move. In the latter case, they undergo semi-random motion. The modules can search for, harvest and exchange energy. In addition, they can self-assemble, and thereby form compound structures. Six prototypes of the evo-bot modules were built. We experimentally demonstrate their key functions, namely hybrid motion control, energy harvesting and sharing, and simple structure formation.



This research was supported by a Marie Curie European Reintegration Grant within the 7th European Community Framework Programme (grant no. PERG07-GA-2010-268354). It was also funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through scholarship support (M. Doyle) and grant no. EP/K033948/1. In addition the authors would like to thank Paul Eastwood and Michael Port for their invaluable assistance in preparing the experimental environment.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan A. Escalera
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Matthew J. Doyle
    • 1
  • Francesco Mondada
    • 3
  • Roderich Groß
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Automatic Control and Systems EngineeringThe University of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  2. 2.Department of Automatics and Systems EngineeringUniversity Carlos III of MadridLeganésSpain
  3. 3.Laboratoire de Systèmes RobotiquesEcole Polytechnique Fédérale de LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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