Rest assured, this won't be the first or last time you hear of insects and mammals being used as inspiration for robotic creatures. Nevertheless, a recent MIT mechanical engineering course saw students craft bots that could handle "beaver-like tasks" such as "knocking down trees and gathering food in the form of street hockey balls" while fending off competitors in 45-second rounds. Separately, the EU-funded SPARK endeavor is seeking to "develop a new robot control architecture for roving robots inspired by the principles governing the behavior of living systems and based on the concept of self-organization." There's plenty more material to make your skin crawl in the read links below, just don't feed the mechs, okay?

Read - SPARK project
Read - MIT competition

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