A prototype robot is ready to show off its ability to replicate its own parts at this week’s Cheltenham Science Festival. The machine, called RepRap, prints 3D objects but rather than put ink on paper it lays down molten plastic which, after building up many layers creates three-dimensional objects.
Dr Adrian Bower, from Bath University will be the man standing slightly smugly behind this machine, which could be compared to the amoebic stage on the route to creating a Terminator humanoid that can replicate itself.
“RepRap has so far been capable of making everyday plastic goods such as door handles, sandals and coat hooks” the university said, and now the machine has succeeded in copying all its own 3D-printed parts which have been printed and assembled by a RepRap team in Auckland, New Zealand, into a new RepRap machine.
Dr Bowyer, a senior lecturer in engineering in the faculty of engineering and design at the University of Bath, said: “These days, most people in the developed world run professional-quality print works, photographic lab and CD-pressing plant in their own house, all courtesy of their home PC.
“Why shouldn’t they also run their own factory capable of making many of the things they presently buy in shops, too? The possibilities are endless.”
And so say all of us!