EVOLVINGROBOTProject ID: 268354
Autonomous evolution of robotic organisms
Total cost:EUR 45 000
EU contribution:EUR 45 000
Coordinated in:United Kingdom
Call for proposal:FP7-PEOPLE-2010-RGSee other projects for this call
Funding scheme:MC-ERG - European Re-integration Grants (ERG)
"It has been observed that discrete and autonomous entities, from molecular to planetary scale, bind to each other, and thereby, organize into patterns and structures without being directed externally. The underlying process, termed self-assembly, encouraged researchers from many disciplines to study the design of modular and collective robot systems in which new entities arise autonomously by self-assembling. However, the capabilities of such systems are vastly unexplored, mainly due to shortcomings in current hardware implementations.
In this project, we design a novel type of self-assembling system that is composed of macroscopic building blocks that float in an agitated medium. The dynamism of the medium allows the blocks to physically bind with and disband from each other. This is expected to result in the emergence, reproduction, and evolution of life-like organisms. The process will be governed solely by the building block's local interactions in the absence of any blueprint or central command. It will drive the system towards a population of organisms that are adapted to their environment. Fitness, here is fully implicit, and reflects an organism's ability to reproduce. To do so, its phenotype must accumulate further building blocks and harvest enough energy from the environment to sustain itself.
The structure of the project is such that it helps the applicant to establish his own research laboratory at the host organization while at the same time build up a lasting collaboration with his previous host organization. The project will keep the applicant at the forefront of self-assembly research. The results are expected to provide a vital insight into evolutionary processes (e.g., demonstrating that non-biological matter can evolve), drive technology (e.g., observing populations of energy autonomous robots over weeks or months), and, in the medium-term, have a high impact on education (e.g., physical demonstrators of evolution in science museums)."
EU contribution: EUR 45 000
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