Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Replicon 2012

Annual Self Replicating Robot Contest
  [vote for,

The most sustainable replication with the least preparation wins.

On one end of the spectrum, you'd have a robot arm that autonomously goes around picking up parts to assemble another robot arm. This newly created arm in turn assembles the next until a pile of robot arm parts becomes a bunch of robot arms. This would be a high school level entry with all the parts laid out and it's nothing particularly impressive.

On the other hand, you'd have the grand champion winner of all time where the inventor just throws it out the front door and it comes back with thousands of duplicate robots it created from raw materials it found and processed itself. This would be the end of the contest (and hopefully not all life on earth) as the goal has been reached.

The interesting part would be that progression from some pretty simple robots putting each other together to the promise land of self-replicating robots that forage for their own raw materials and pretty much mimic life.

However, long before that level is reached the goal within reach in our lifetime is a "utility robot" that could basically do every task a person could. The nice thing about having a general purpose utility robot is you only need one design so it's cheaper to make. This robot only needs to be able to do any manual task a human could do to allow mankind to reach the next level of the industrial revolution. It may be somewhat human in shape and configuration but not necessarily. When you get to the point where you have utility robots exclusively working in the utility robot factory, just delivering parts or even raw materials to the loading dock, that's when you've reached the practical goal of this adventure.

Anyway, back to the contest. Alcohol and un-healthy carnival style treats would be served.

doctorremulac3, Dec 08 2011

The logo for the event http://en.wikipedia.../wiki/Drawing_Hands
Only with robot hands. [doctorremulac3, Dec 08 2011]

Whoa! Even better! http://search.it.on...lis-mc-mechanic.jpg
Not sure if this link will work for all, but it's two cyborg hands building each other. Taylor made for this thing. [doctorremulac3, Dec 08 2011, last modified Dec 09 2011]

//Taylor made// http://www.ibiblio....tch/fwt/taylor.html
[mouseposture, Dec 10 2011]


       I know there are programs to develop 3D printers that can print all the parts necessary to make a 3D printer which can print all the parts necessary....   

       ...but I don't know if there are any competitions like this. I like it.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 08 2011

       Yea, that printer is pretty cool. I was thinking that a good entry would be that with robot arms that picked up the material, put it into the printer then assembled the next printer / builder.   

       The logo for the event would be that Escher drawing with the two hands. (link)
doctorremulac3, Dec 08 2011

       you had me at "alcohol" [+]
methinksnot, Dec 08 2011

       //The most sustainable replication with the least preparation wins.//   

       I submit: A slightly altered strain of bacterium, isolated from a swab outside my front door.
The alterations would be a) a marker, to prove origin, and b) any genes which might be useful in the immediate environment outside my front door.

       I will of course win the first contest. For the second, you might want to define the term 'robot'.
I might be in gaol for illegal release of genetically modified organism by then, though. Unless I used breeding and selection rather than (much more efficient) genetic engineering.
Loris, Dec 09 2011

       Robot: Mechanical, clanky and noisy. Good at math but lousy at logic and easily caught in Mobius logic loops. Their heads can be blown up by telling them "Everything I say is a lie".   

       Here's a typical man/robot interaction:   

       "Dr Remulac 3, what is this thing you humans call love?"   

       "It's overrated, now shut up and fold the laundry."
doctorremulac3, Dec 09 2011

       //Their heads can be blown up// The ones without heads are immune to the Cretan Liar, but can be defeated by the Spanish Barber.
mouseposture, Dec 09 2011

       Now this is a cool contest. Heck, this could become the next N-Prize, in terms of a real-life contest begun at the halfbakery, except this one is slightly more plausible.   

       One question- would it be possible to enter an 'ecosystem' of multiple robots or multiple designs of robots as a single entry?
Hive_Mind, Dec 10 2011

       Sure. The goal is some mechanical thing that creates another identical mechanical thing on it's own after your giving it a simple "go" command.   

       I'm guessing your talking about a group of robots each of which preforms a specific task. That would be fine as long as they made another group of identical robots that could do the same thing.
doctorremulac3, Dec 10 2011


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