Self-reproducing machines

From: Adrian Tymes (
Date: Thu Oct 25 2001 - 00:09:29 MDT

Recently, I said there had not been much work done towards the
creation of self-reproducing machines, not even on MEMS scale, to say
nothing of nano. I may have to take that back.

US Patent 5659477, available at'5659477'.WKU.&OS=PN/5659477&RS=PN/5659477
describes a system that, though MEMS scale, seems to fit the criteria
for a bot that can go to some place, say an asteroid or the Moon, and
build more of itself, with the only external assistance (if any) being
control signals. Does anyone know if systems like this are actually
being built, or is this patent just squatting on the concept because it
can? (I know about the robots a year or so back that built copies of
themselves, with externally supplied chips. The chips disqualify them,
but they're the closest I've seen in actual hardware.)

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