Marking what is surely the official launch of the robotic conquest of Earth, whizz kids (or aliens? Hmmm) at Cornell University have created small robots that can build copies of themselves, demonstrating that simple, mechanical self-reproduction is not unique to biology. Each robot consists of several 4-inch cubes with identical machinery, software, and electromagnets. Sure, they tried to prevent it, but living amongst us now are machines (read "children") who duplicate by bending over and putting their top cube on the table; bend again, pick up another cube and put it on the first, then repeat until the robot has created a four-module replica in 2.5 minutes. The development team hopes their design principles could make long-term, self-repairing robots that could mend themselves in hazardous situations and space flights. Yeah, right. Oh, and did we mention they transfer data "through their faces?" Please bookmark this link for reference in the year 2029.
[Thanks, Brian and Jason]