The Loh Down On Science

If I Only Had a Heart

Swiss researchers show robots have hearts, in a manner of speaking.

Ah--I guess the Tin Man DOES have a heart!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology used computer models to study 10 colonies of robots over 500 simulated generations. The robots' software controlled how they responded to their surroundings, just as genes control animal behaviors.

Some robot colonies were happy families sharing the same electronic genes. Other colonies were full of genetic strangers.

The simulated robots roamed among food and poison spots, which either boosted or busted their scores in a simulated game of life and death. High scoring robots passed their "software" to future generations. That's sweet.

Eventually, the scientists added the evolved programming to REAL robots interacting with each other, and watched what happened.

Related robots used flashing lights to warn their kin away from poison, and shared food with family members, even if they then got less themselves.

But when single UNRELATED robots faced off, it became a bot-eat-bot world.

Ah.. It's hard being a single robot .. .alone on Friday night, with your Star Wars pillow ...Sigh


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