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Open Source Self-Replicating Robot

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the what's-not-to-like? dept.

Robotics 194

Josilot writes "CNN.Com is running an article about a new self-replicating robot named RepRap. From the article: 'A revolutionary machine that can copy itself and manufacture everyday objects quickly and cheaply could transform industry in the developing world, according to its creator.' One part of the article that I think many slashdot readers will find interesting is near the bottom: 'To encourage that development, Bowyer plans to make the design of the RepRap available online and free to use, in the same way as open source software such as the Linux operating system or Mozilla's Firefox browser.' Is robotics the next big field for open source?"

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can't wait (2, Funny)

flashinglights (694554) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725242)

I want a box in my kitchen that makes synth-protein from scratch!!

PEOPLE WITH MOD POINTS: CALL FOR HELP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725292)

There's a guy currently flooding Slashdot with randomly generated crap messages with the intent of disrupting normal discussion. Click on one of the links below to see what I mean. If you have mod points left and aren't sure what to use them for, plase mod him down so we can get his network banned.

Comment #1 [slashdot.org]
Comment #2 [slashdot.org]
Comment #3 [slashdot.org]
Comment #4 [slashdot.org]
Comment #5 [slashdot.org]

Comment #6 [slashdot.org]
Comment #7 [slashdot.org]
Comment #8 [slashdot.org]

Your help would be very much appreciated. Thanks!

If you actually HAVE a different use for your mod points, just use them elsewhere and don't reply. But keep in mind that crapflooding WILL come to one of your discussions sooner or later. [slashdot.org]

Re:PEOPLE WITH MOD POINTS: CALL FOR HELP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725305)

If you actually HAVE a different use for your mod points, just use them elsewhere and don't reply. But keep in mind that crapflooding WILL come to one of your discussions sooner or later.

Great, just what we need: recursive crap flooders...

Re:PEOPLE WITH MOD POINTS: CALL FOR HELP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725334)

I don't know anyone dumb enough to mod up or down on trolltalk...

Re:PEOPLE WITH MOD POINTS: CALL FOR HELP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725346)

Then I hope you will enjoy it when the same people flood the front page again.

Re:PEOPLE WITH MOD POINTS: CALL FOR HELP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725375)

The GNAA wants you! [xxx-porn-mpegs.com]

Can you say dupe? (-1, Redundant)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725243)


Slashdot has already covered this Here [slashdot.org] .

Sheesh!

It's not a dupe (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725252)

It's a self-replicating story.

Re:Can you say dupe? (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725274)

Modded down for saying that a story is a dupe?

Wow, nice. Anyway, here's the right link [slashdot.org] .

Well it's not really a dupe... (1)

drseuss9311 (789400) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725339)

More of a follow-up, that is newsworthy, of course. :)

Re:Well it's not really a dupe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725427)

hopefully he cant self-duplicate ;)

Re:Can you say dupe? (2, Insightful)

RoadkillBunny (662203) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725324)

RTFA, it's not a dupe. Looking at the picture in the article it dosn't look like a bunch of cubes moving themselfs around as in the first case. It looks more complicated now.

Re:Can you say dupe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725383)

That's what I thought too based on the title, but the story is different than the cube machine. However, there was another article also about RepRap which another person mentioned:

http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/03/ 18/013240&tid=126&tid=216 [slashdot.org]

Re:Can you say dupe? (0, Redundant)

mindriot (96208) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725434)

It's not a dupe. It's a self-replicating story.

THE FERST POHST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725244)

winnna = me!!

RTFA (5, Funny)

Rii (777315) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725245)

One part of the article that I think many slashdot readers will find interesting is near the bottom:
New here, aren't you?

Re:RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725360)

Of course, that's nowhere to be found on the CNN page... however, I'm sure you'll lure a few people in who say "Hey, you tricked me!" to which you can reply "New here, aren't you?"

Re:RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725413)

No, This guy is New Here [slashdot.org] .

Re:RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725451)

No, This guy is New Here.

Shut up.

Re:RTFA (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725561)

No. This guy [slashdot.org] is 'Shut Up'!

Replicatiors (3, Funny)

mazevedo (117804) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725247)

Have we contacted the Asgard? Smells like trouble to me!

Re:Replicatiors (1)

hermit7323 (782172) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725270)

The replicators started out just as a toy/friend for a lonely android, imagine how hardcore replicators that are meant to replicate will be.

Re:Replicatiors (1)

Joe123456 (846782) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725340)

The NRA also has enough ammo to stop then for a while

Re:Replicators (1)

kjh1 (65671) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725351)

Boy, even when you think you have an original idea for a post, someone beats you to it on Slashdot. C'mon people: stop hitting Refresh waiting for new stories to appear! *sigh*

Anyway, for those geeks among us who have missed out on the great Sci-Fi show that is Stargate SG-1, and don't know what the Replicators are, check out this link: http://www.gateworld.net/omnipedia/races/links/rep licators.shtml [gateworld.net] .

I question the efficiency. (1)

FireballX301 (766274) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725248)

Yes, a self-replicating robot would be most excellent - a robot that could duplicate itself without human intervention.

But then again, how long would it take for each robot to manufacture another copy, versus having a modular assembly line? I don't see self-replicating robots breaking into major industrial use.

Re:I question the efficiency (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725342)

exponential growth:
Generation 1 = 1 Robot
Generation 2 = 2 Robots
Generation 3 = 4 Robots
Generation 4 = 8 Robots
Generation 101 = 1267650600228229401496703205376 robots

Re:I question the efficiency (3, Insightful)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725546)

Generation 33 = One for everybody on Earth, plus about 10% overage. Let's stop there and start making stuff with them.
In fact, what will probably happen is everyone who gets one going will make a copy or two (on the average) for people near and dear (for average values of dear). Then they will turn them to making other stuff. That means it will spread much more slowly than exponential growth. A slower growth rate is good from a control standpoint, bad if you are waiting for them to spread to your area and lack the skills to jump-start the process.
What's neat is having someone make their own replicator simultaniously teaches them how to use their copy for making other stuff, unlike sex.

Re:I question the efficiency. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725343)

It doesnt matter, the robots will get exponentially faster over time and WILL beat any assembly line.

Re:I question the efficiency. (2, Insightful)

AndyL (89715) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725670)

That's silly. Fabrication speed is still an issue even if they are self replicating.

If I need an entire warehouse full of self replicated robots to fashion a plastic spoon in under a week then it would not be practical.

Alternatively, if they can only manufacture things solo (especially small things.) then their ability to replicate does not enter into it.

Lastly the bots present an overhead. Their raw materials must be paid for and the bots must be powered. (It looks like it runs on a few D cells. If I had a warehouse full of them I'd need an army of people just changing batteries for me.)

I'm not putting down this invention, (Though I don't think it's as far along as CNN would have us believe.) I'm just pointing out that self-replication does not necessarily translate into manufacturing efficiency or free wealth for all.

Re:I question the efficiency. (1)

lanc (762334) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725355)

right

And how about the usability? I mean what about robots that can replicate themselves in a form what can be then useful?

Or will we just have self replicating robots whos only target/function is to replicate themselves rule the world, with an economical crash at the end where there isn't anything else possible to produce except for selfreproducing robots?

Re:I question the efficiency. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725712)

Or will we just have self replicating robots whos only target/function is to replicate themselves rule the world, with an economical crash at the end where there isn't anything else possible to produce except for selfreproducing robots?

reminds me of those pesky self-replicating homo sapiens

Re:I question the efficiency. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725382)

Yes, but I think it would be much more realistic for a client to go out and buy one robot that builds the merchandise. Then have it build more of itself as demand of the goods is needed, as opposed to going out and buying one. Having an assembly line would mean the goods are in very high demand already since the costs of making one are generally very high.

Re:I question the efficiency. (1)

swelke (252267) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725433)

But then again, how long would it take for each robot to manufacture another copy, versus having a modular assembly line? I don't see self-replicating robots breaking into major industrial use.

Then I would say that you haven't thought carefully about the math involved. For example, say you have one assembly line that can produce 1000 robots (or whatever your product is) an hour, versus a robot that can produce a copy of itself in 24 hours. This is a chart of the robots produced by each method:
Time (hours) Assembly Line Self-Replicators
24 24,000 1 (plus the original)
48 48,000 3
72 72,000 7
96 96,000 15
...
240 240,000 1023
...
432 432,000 262,143
456 456,000 524,287
480 480,000 1048575
...
24*n 24*n*1000 2^n-1 (n is # of days)
So, as you can see, when you first start out, the self-replicators seem to be going really slowly. In my example, at day 19 the self-replicators have achieved a higher total than the assembly line. After that, the self-replicators are clearly superior. The self replicators follow a different expansion law, however, so in the long run they will always win. If the replicators are slower or the assembly line faster, that only changes the multiplying factor and not the underlying function. In the long run the self-replicators must win in this sort of race.

Re:I question the efficiency. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725473)

I don't see self-replicating robots breaking into major industrial use.

Well, with the potential for exponential growth in production capacity, I sure as hell don't see why someone wouldn't be interested in using them for industry.

Re:I question the efficiency. (1)

untree (851145) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725559)

This would be very useful in space industries. If a robot could make itself and a number of very similar models that could each also make a different component of some larger structure (a refinery perhaps?), this would be an efficient way to mine asteroids or other similar objects.

Re:I question the efficiency. (1)

Rhett (141440) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725598)

But then again, how long would it take for each robot to manufacture another copy, versus having a modular assembly line? I don't see self-replicating robots breaking into major industrial use.

Self replicating robots build more self replicating robots, so they can copy themselves exponentially. If you have 1 robot that takes 1 whole day to copy itself, you have 2^32 or 4294967296 robots in 32 days.

That's nothin... (2, Funny)

Billy the Mountain (225541) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725250)

I've got a better open source self-replicating robot: Herpes virus.

BTM

Re:That's nothin... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725280)

Herpes!!!

the gift that just keeps on giving...

Re:That's nothin... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725285)

I've got a better open source self-replicating robot: Herpes virus.

Sorry to hear about that -- maybe someday they'll find a cure for you.

Re:That's nothin... (4, Funny)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725347)

open source, not open sores.

yikes!

Re:That's nothin... (1)

cosinezero (833532) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725575)

Doesn't that require nookie to replicate? The nookie level around /., I dunno if that'd be a very good example...

dupe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725257)

Re: dupe! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725373)

Its not a dupe its "self replicating"

first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725258)

I'm first

first post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725260)

i dont care if this is modded oftopic, i got first post :D

please.. (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725261)

"Layers formed together by lasers or glue" just sounds "cheap" to me.
Plus you would have to buy all the different materials first... such "home manufacturing" just isn't economically feasible until you have nano-bots doing it, or it's for one specialized item like batteries that everyone needs.

Re:please.. (2, Informative)

Billy the Mountain (225541) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725303)

It may sound cheap to you. But consider this:
A laser need not necessarily put out much power to fuse even metal, if the metal powder is already close to melting point to begin with. An existing prototyping system uses this approach to create customized metal objects.

BTM

Fake story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725352)

"Plus you would have to buy all the different materials first."

3D polymer printers are common, they use them to make prototypes of 3d shapes, the result isn't very strong but its useful for seeing a shape.

However the robot isn't real, somebodies yanking CNNs tail. These printers don't melt metal at thousands of degrees C, don't extract rubber, don't coat copper wires with plastic or dope silicon to make semiconductors.

Frosty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725263)

Is it? Could it?

hummm (2, Funny)

Amouth (879122) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725265)

new toys .. more new toys .. wait that isn't a toy, why are they eating my house.. humm i don't think they like me

I'm dismayed (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725268)

...that the first step in my quest for world domination has been publicized on /.

Bwah-hahahah!!!

Good thing it's open source (5, Funny)

SleepyHappyDoc (813919) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725271)

If it wasn't, would it's own existence violate the DMCA?

Re:Good thing it's open source (2, Funny)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725293)

or if one became a prostitute and started to sell itself for money and not release the vidios , it may violate its own OS license

Re:Good thing it's open source (2, Funny)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725359)

Okay, I have to question Slashdot Reader Sanity when I see this one. Lemme answer your question.

NO.

The DMCA protects copyrighted works; if anything this work is an invention and therefore subject to Patent law, but not copyright.

Re:Good thing it's open source (1)

HyperBlazer (830880) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725430)

Okay, I have to question Slashdot Reader Sanity when I see this one. Lemme answer your question.
NO.
The DMCA protects copyrighted works; if anything this work is an invention and therefore subject to Patent law, but not copyright.

Two comments:

1) Don't you think that this invention contains software, which is covered by copyright law?

2) I thought that the OP was supposed to be funny. At least, it made me laugh.

Re:Good thing it's open source (2, Interesting)

hhawk (26580) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725700)

Given that, perhaps, some day robots will share very close and very trusted relationships with human; e.g., give "freedom" of movement in their homes, offices, cars, etc. and perhaps given some spending authority, passwords, and other means to access resources on behave of the home/office they toil in... having their source and design as open source is a fairly critical to insure (on the macro level) that particular classes of robots don't contain lurking evil.

However, IMHO, it will take some type of trusted computer system (open sourced I hope!! please! Please!!), to insure that an individual robot isn't lurking in your home with evil within its programming...

[I've been trying to get my homeBot to clean up the kitchen but those damm spybots and Trojan Virus have it wacked out going around in small circles in the bathroom (and have had it lock itself in!; glad we have more than one bathroom...]

Self replicating stories? (1, Offtopic)

Stonent1 (594886) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725275)

We've had them for years.

Movie (1, Informative)

PxM (855264) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725281)

Instead of posting the obvious joke about dupes, here's a link to the movie [cornell.edu] form the previous story. (Coral link [nyud.net] )

Re:Movie (1)

Bungopolis (763083) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725315)

This story is not a dupe of the story to which you refer, but a dupe of another story to which I am too lazy to find a link.

Whoops. Wrong robot. (1)

PxM (855264) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725323)

At least this (in the video) robot actually replicates itself based on building blocks. The RepRap isn't in the working stages yet. Now that I found the right article, I'll just replicate my comment from the previous article:

While the idea of a 3D printer cheap enough for personal use /is/ going to revolutionize the world by making certain real items as cheap as software, the part about it being a von Neumann machine is overrated. The article just mentions it in passing and there is no evidence that he's actually figured out how to do that. That's been one of the holy grails of engineering since it was proposed. The article doesn't mention whether the materials used will be recyclable. Since everyone and their grandmother will start spitting out objects if they have this and since it would probably be cheaper to build a new object rather than repairing an old one, mass use of UCs will produce tons of waste. Imagine if you could never delete any file on your computer but could create more easily. You would run out of space very quickly. BTW, for a good book on the social implications of cheap universal constructors, I suggest the Stephenson's book Diamond Age.

Yes! (2, Insightful)

camzmac (889291) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725298)

Yes, of course robotics is the next big field for open source! The FOSS model works pretty damn well, it would be (in some people's opinions) selfish not to apply it to other aspscts of technology and life in general.

North American natives did something similar to open source by sharing their ideas, methods, and beliefs with the Europeans that came to North America, and the Europeans gave them the advantage of metal pots and pans. Basic open source right there. Now we have North American society, home to the most powerful country on the planet.

Re:Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725349)

we also gave them free access to european dieases!

share and share alike i suppose.

Self Replicating robot (1)

karvind (833059) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725310)

We covered a story from Cornell [slashdot.org] on self-replicating robots before. I guess it wasn't opensource.

Re:Self Replicating robot (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725693)

In addition to the work at Cornell, there was also a Slashdot blurb [slashdot.org] I submitted a few months ago on RepRap. Perhaps we have self-replicating stories? :)

In all seriousness though, it looks like some progress has been made since then, so it's nice to see another article on this.

Is this like April 1st? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725319)

Look at that robot, its got rubber its got plastic its got motors its got wire. Self replicating? No way.

What a load of BS. P-L-E-E-A-A-S-E this is some joker playing games with CNN. Don't fall for it.

Re:Is this like April 1st? (1)

swelke (252267) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725456)

Any machine production requires raw materials of some sort. Most factories require raw materials at least as thoroughly refined as these. Just because it doesn't use naturally occurring raw materials doesn't mean that it isn't an interesting achievement.

While I'm on the subject, it seems to me that the most reasonable way to create a self-replicator that can replicate from naturally ocurring materials (and the way for which this story is a first step) is to start with a robot which can self-replicate from pretty advanced raw materials, and work on developing it further so that the materials needed become progressively cheaper and less refined for future versions. With enough such development (and open source methodology has proven pretty good at that sort of development) it should eventually be a very versatile self-replicator.

Re:Is this like April 1st? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725499)

" Any machine production requires raw materials of some sort."

Silicon is grown as a huge crystal via evaporation then doped then sliced and processed. Tell me how a polymer printing process generates this?

Rubber is a stretch product.

The technique he uses is laser polymer printer, its not just the raw material, its the manufacturing process. It is not possible to make a robot using a technique, where the robot HAS to be made by a different technique.

Re:Is this like April 1st? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725541)

How does a machine made of metal melt and mold metal? Wouldn't it melt?

Yea, slashdot already has.... (1)

WizardRahl (840191) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725329)

...self-replicating stories. Fucking stupid editors. You would have to be out of your fucking mind to subscribe to /. with real money.

Vague Article (3, Interesting)

c41rn (880778) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725330)

The article is frustratingly vague. It sounds to me like the robot doesn't replicate itself but rather that Dr. Adrian Bowyer has created some type of system for replicating robot chasis. The picture clearly shows a plastic 'bot with attached motors, wiring, batteries, etc. From the information that the article gives, it seems like a human is still needed for the final construction. I wouldn't consider this self replicating because it is not autonomous.

You're right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725556)

The article is clear that this technology could bring industrialization to parts of the world where labor is cheap. So, obviously, this is self-replication with 'some assembly required'.

On the other hand it does talk about creating printed circuit boards using low melting point alloys squirted through a heated nozzle (high tech like maybe a glue gun for instance).

Never mind. Once someone comes up with a practical design, the process will bootstrap itself. The simple cheap primitive 3-d prototyping systems will morph into systems that can replicate themselves. We have actually had the ability to build a real self-replicating system for a long time. It's just that the expense of doing so makes it wildly impractical with previous technology.

What I'm excited about is the change in design of common items to make it practical to make them using this kind of technology. Making something easier to build and assemble will also make it easier to repair. No longer will we have to throw out things that are 99% good because it is impossible to replace a ten cent part. We will finally be able to start wasting valuable resources and therefore start to decrease pollution. This kind of thing could be very good.

On the other hand, many very clever people are working on 3-d prototyping. I'm not expecting a huge breakthrough any time soon. The work described in tfa is exciting but most such work has not lived up to its promise so far.

Self-replicating? (4, Informative)

nacturation (646836) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725337)

We've had 3D printers for quite a while now which basically form shapes by laying down a thin layer of sand-like or metallic powder, followed by a thin layer of glue, etc. You then use compressed air to blow away the sand layers which don't have glue and voila... a 3D shape and quite sturdy. You can make some parts which are impossible using other methods.

However, I missed the part in the press release, er... story where they are self-assembling. Sure, you can have a machine feed in a design and print something out, but what about assembly? Yes it can print circuits, but does this thing add motors, insert batteries, or plug its power into the wall? And will it feed the newly created copy with the source of materials, etc. it needs to make another copy? Let me know when we get a machine which can create an copy of itself and, without any human intervention, that just-created copy makes another copy.

Re:Self-replicating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725501)

Yeah, but there's a problem here, once you've got 80 billion robots happily munching on the Pacific Ocean, how the hell do you tell them all to stop destroying the earth?

Seriously, all it takes is one guy forgetting to throw the kill switch at break-time and, pretty soon, we'll all be living in an endless robot desert.

I get this image of millions of robotic spiders crawling over and consuming one another in a massive orgy of destructive production.

Re:Self-replicating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725553)

millions of robotic spiders crawling over and consuming one another

Thats just the acid. just lie down for a while, they'll go away.

Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725357)

I'm sure Microsoft Could do this much better, after all they do produce the Best software in the world.

Ingrates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725361)

To encourage that development, Bowyer plans to make the design of the RepRap available online and free to use, in the same way as open source software such as the Linux operating system or Mozilla's Firefox browser.' Is robotics the next big field for open source?"
Ingrates! It's GNU/Linux!

The Poll (1)

Phattypants (469233) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725363)

Are you concerned by the prospect of self-replicating machines?
I for one welcome out self-replicating robot overlords.

Where's the video: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725374)

until I see some unedited video of this process in action, I don't buy this story...

Not a dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725379)

The other story was at cornell this the 2nd self replicating robot story, but not the same robot.

This Just In (1)

42Penguins (861511) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725386)

Arizona - A new open source warbot being tested by the Army was hijacked this morning by a 12 year-old. The perpetrator allegedly downloaded the plans for the robot at sourceforge, and created his own controller. Details at 11.

Where have you been? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725586)

Warbots have been around for years. Who do you think is running the White House? Sadly they are also self replicating.

Project page: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725389)

Here's a link to the RepRap Project [bath.ac.uk]

now blow me, i'm a karma whore...

Weak (3, Informative)

Illserve (56215) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725392)

It's apparently a robot that can make circuit boards, and that's it. There are about 50 million steps involved in making itself, this can do one of them.

Thx media hype, call me when something interesting happens.

URL http://reprap.org/ (3, Informative)

urbieta (212354) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725393)

http://reprap.org/ [reprap.org]

the blog is cool too

http://reprap.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

This would make a better type of bot wars, building their weapons with available materials and blasting each other with them heh

World Population (2, Insightful)

zp (68133) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725397)

With the billions of inhabitants this planet has, are we concerned with robot workers?

Meh (1)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725398)

I can do that.. /Human

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725730)

I can do that.. /Human


So what are you doing on Slashdot, then?

All scientists must be forced to watch more sci-fi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725401)

Really, all countries should prevent scientists from getting near robotics labs or AI programming until they've seen

Stargate SG-1
Terminator
etc.

If they did, we could save billions of lives!

I'm deadly serious.

But mod me up FUNNY anyway!

iVampire (2, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725409)

At least they aren't powered by human blood.

So, they just... (1)

TheNucleon (865817) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725417)

consume resources and make copies of themselves? What good is that?

Wait, that's what we do...

OK. Forget I said that.

Did someone just prove Stevey B right? (1)

taskforce (866056) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725421)

Steve B of Microsoft described Linux as a Communist Cancer... if they're selling these things to "the Developing World" (from TFA) e.g. China I think he might actually have a point...

The next area to open up to open source (1)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725437)

will be weapons. Think of the results. Gangs working together to create a better gun. Countries working to build better bombs. A whole new realm of coperation will be fostered. Errrr... Perhaps not. On a more serious note. Here is another open source robot. It's nice knowing that it isn't the only one. http://www.symbio.jst.go.jp/PINO/ [jst.go.jp]

Kind of a dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12725438)

The other story was about the reprap project: Towards Self-Replicating Rapid Prototypers [slashdot.org] on St. Patty's day. The cornell story [slashdot.org] is a different project

This is the last thing the developing world needs (0, Flamebait)

greenguy (162630) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725471)

Does this provide more jobs? No. The machines do the work.

Does this raise wages? No. See above answer.

Does this increase skill levels? No. See above answer.

Does this level the playing field of international commerce? No.

Does this make use of locally-available materials? No.

Does this make anything useful? Not so far, and if it did, it would result in a net reduction of jobs.

This project (or at least this claim for it) seems to be making the same mistake that people in agriculture in the so-called developed world make, which is to think that what people in impoverished nations need is cheaper goods. This is not the case. What they need is goods produced in their own nation, made from local materials by locally-owned companies, so that the money they spend cycles back into their own economy. The poor need cheaper goods, relative to their salaries... but it's far more useful to raise their salaries than to make the goods cheaper.

Re:This is the last thing the developing world nee (1)

Dutch_Cap (532453) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725742)

"What they need is goods produced in their own nation, made from local materials by locally-owned companies, so that the money they spend cycles back into their own economy."

I can't comment on the local materials, since I'm not sure what raw materials the machine would require. Otherwise that seems to be exactly what reprap is supposed to do, though.

Uh-oh (1)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725495)

Free plans for self-replicating robots?!?! I definitely know a few people who I would not trust with their own robot army and I don't think I want to make it any easier for them to get one!

A better way (1)

ardor (673957) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725603)

would be this:

create about 50 general-purpose robots.
The programming of these robots instruct them to build factories first, where other robots are to be created. Eventually, have thhem build the factory portable so that it can be relocated easily in case of depleted resources or danger. (Kind of like the Starcraft Terran buildings.)

Now the robots finished the factory and start production of the robots. More robots equals to more factories etc.

The factories itself could be improved by creating machines with them capable of building the robots better.

Further improvement would be the ability to connect themselves to larger entities. In an self-improvement (2nd generation robots, generated by robot-made factories) robots no longer are all equal, but specialized, much like cells in a human body. The specialization is adapted to the environment and the needs of the robots.

I love BS (1)

Mungkie (632052) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725682)

hmmm...............

It's kewl that this got on CNN we need more sophism, BS, and trumpet tooting. It at least stimulates discussion, intrest, and someone might actually propose something that really works.

but.....

It all depends what type of machine you are talking about?

stereolithography cost around $2 per cc
resinmetal cast http://www.prometal.com/equipment.html [prometal.com] $10 per cc

this is != cheap
this is != self replicating

For a self replicating machine you need it to produce:

1) some type of motor unit
2) a method of extrusion/deposition/milling of solid components.
3) production of control/energy transmission conduits
4) control logic.

We did some work with haex on hadron confined focused plasma extrusion of alloys, basically you create a magnetic vortex to contain your plasma (similar to electron microscope focusing system) with Tcut berylium crystals modulating the output field topology. Then you just squirt in your alloy powder components into the vortex, control the plasma temperature and focus topology then draw off the required extrusion on to a x,y,z cnc build platform. Obviously the plasma can be modulated for fine deposition, cutting/milling operations allowing extremly precise and complex solids to be formed. We initially worked with Al/Zn/Cu/Mn/Mg/Si Particles to produce standard alloy types but never managed to get correct crystaline granular alloys (components had very high IGC levels). The current developments are looking at fullerines with Al/Cu.

This sort of thing may oneday become a selfreplicating system but it wont be cheap or portable (unless there are some huge leaps in heat dissipation and energy costs?)

Self-replicating my ass! (4, Funny)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725702)

It's about as self-replicating as a machine that connects to the web via its ethernet port, places an order for parts here [emachineshop.com] , waits until the UPS web site says the parts have arrived and then emails its owner to tell it to assemble the parts sitting in the box on the front doormat.

Frist p0st mentioning PKD (1)

cellocgw (617879) | more than 9 years ago | (#12725750)

Forget *gate, PKD had tons of short stories involving self-replicating robots. IMHO scarier than the anti-Asgard kind.
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