A mother robot built her own robot children, improving them with each successive generation — all with virtually no human intervention.

Mull that over for a minute.

The robotics breakthrough, reported this week in the open access journal PLOS One, happened when researchers at University of Cambridge programmed a specially equipped Universal Robots UR5 robotic arm and gripper to not only build a robot capable of movement, but to use information gleaned from the performance of the mother robot’s first children to progressively more successful ones.

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Robot builds its own robot offspring, improving on each generation