Self-correcting robots, at-home 3-D printing are on horizon, says researcher at AAAS

February 22, 2011 By Anne Ju, Cornell University

Robots that can self-improve and machines that "print" products at home are technologies soon to become increasingly available, said Cornell's Hod Lipson at the 2011 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting, Feb. 17-21.

Lipson, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and of computing and , said Feb. 19 that robots can observe and reconstruct their own behaviors and use this information to adapt to new circumstances.

Such advances are important because self-reflection plays a key role in accelerating adaptation by reducing costs of physical experimentation, he said. Similarly, the ability of a machine to reconstruct the morphology and behavior of other machines is important to cooperation and competition. Lipson demonstrated a number of experiments on self-reflecting robotic systems, arguing that reflective processes are essential in achieving meta-cognitive capacities, including consciousness and, ultimately, a form of self-awareness.

In a second talk (Feb. 21), Lipson discussed the emergence of solid free-form fabrication technology, which allows 3-D printing of various structures, layer by layer, from electronic blueprints. While this technology has been in existence for more than two decades, this process has recently been explored for . In particular, new developments in multimaterial printing may allow these compact "fabbers" to move from printing custom implants and scaffolds to "printing" live tissue.

His talk also touched on his experience with the open-source Fab@Home project and its use in printing a variety of biological and non-biological integrated systems. He concluded with some of the opportunities that this technology offers for moving from traditional to digital tissue constructs.

Lipson directs Cornell's Computational Synthesis group, which focuses on automatic design, fabrication and adaptation of virtual and physical machines. He has led work in such areas as evolutionary robotics, multimaterial functional rapid prototyping, machine self-replication and programmable self-assembly. He was one of five Cornell faculty members who presented at this year's AAAS meeting.

Explore further: Ink-jet printers inspire scientists to make skin

Related Stories

Eureqa, the robot scientist (w/ Video)

December 7, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new program, Eureqa, takes raw data and formulates scientific laws to suit, and it is available by free download to all scientists.

3D printing for new tissues and organs

June 18, 2009

A more effective way to build plastic scaffolds on which new tissues and even whole organs might be grown in the laboratory is being developed by an international collaboration between teams in Portugal and the UK.

Recommended for you

China auto show highlights industry's electric ambitions

April 22, 2018

The biggest global auto show of the year showcases China's ambitions to become a leader in electric cars and the industry's multibillion-dollar scramble to roll out models that appeal to price-conscious but demanding Chinese ...

Robot designed for faster, safer uranium plant pipe cleanup

April 21, 2018

Ohio crews cleaning up a massive former Cold War-era uranium enrichment plant in Ohio plan this summer to deploy a high-tech helper: an autonomous, radiation-measuring robot that will roll through miles of large overhead ...

Virtually modelling the human brain in a computer

April 19, 2018

Neurons that remain active even after the triggering stimulus has been silenced form the basis of short-term memory. The brain uses rhythmically active neurons to combine larger groups of neurons into functional units. Until ...

'Poker face' stripped away by new-age tech

April 14, 2018

Dolby Laboratories chief scientist Poppy Crum tells of a fast-coming time when technology will see right through people no matter how hard they try to hide their feelings.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.