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The ARE Robot Fabricator: How to (Re)produce Robots that Can Evolve in the Real World

Hale, Matthew F; Buchanan, Edgar; Winfield, Alan F; Timmis, Jon; Hart, Emma; Eiben, Agoston E; Angus, Mike; Veenstra, Frank; Li, Wei; Woolley, Robert; De Carlo, Matteo; Tyrrell, Andy M


Matthew F Hale

Edgar Buchanan

Alan F Winfield

Jon Timmis

Agoston E Eiben

Mike Angus

Frank Veenstra

Wei Li

Robert Woolley

Matteo De Carlo

Andy M Tyrrell


The long term vision of the Autonomous Robot Evolution (ARE) project is to create an ecosystem of both virtual and physical robots with evolving brains and bodies. One of the major challenges for such a vision is the need to construct many unique individuals without prior knowledge of what designs evolution will produce. To this end, an autonomous robot fabrication system for evolutionary robotics, the Robot Fabricator, is introduced in this paper. Evolutionary algorithms can create robot designs without direct human interaction ; the Robot Fabricator will extend this to create physical copies of these designs (phenotypes) without direct human interaction. The Robot Fabricator will receive genomes and produce populations of physical individuals that can then be evaluated, allowing this to form part of the evolutionary loop, so robotic evolution is not confined to simulation and the reality gap is minimised. In order to allow the production of robot bodies with the widest variety of shapes and functional parts, individuals will be produced through 3D printing, with prefabricated actuators and sensors autonomously attached in the positions determined by evolution. This paper presents details of the proposed physical system, including a proof-of-concept demonstrator, and discusses the importance of considering the physical manufacture for evolutionary robotics.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (Published)
Conference Name Artificial Life
Start Date Jul 29, 2019
End Date Aug 2, 2019
Acceptance Date Apr 30, 2019
Publication Date Jul 15, 2019
Deposit Date Jun 20, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jul 23, 2019
Publisher MIT Press
Pages 95-102
Series Title Artificial Life Conference Proceedings
Series Number 31
Book Title ALIFE 2019: The 2019 Conference on Artificial Life
Keywords Evolutionary Robotics
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date Jul 23, 2019


The ARE Robot Fabricator: How to (Re)produce Robots that Can Evolve in the Real World (5 Mb)

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© 2019 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license

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