Self-assembling robot worms.
Inhabitat heralds the end of human dominance on Earth with news of a 3D-printed worm that can build itself out of its own parts:
Researchers at Harvard and MIT teamed up to produce a 3D-printed inchworm robot that is able to aseemble itself. Using shape memory polymers that automatically fold into desired shapes, the remarkable bot transforms itself from a completely flat, two-dimensional object into a walking inchworm-shaped robot with almost no help from human hands.
The inchworm robot uses shape memory polymers to fold along specific hinges; the only human input needed is to attach the battery and motor.
The final step needed to make the robots entirely self-replicating would be to design them so that they can add the battery and motor themselves. Felton says that the next generation of robots will have come with pre-assembled batteries and motors, enabling the robot to assemble itself and walk without any human intervention.
Next step: a robot that assembles its own children. And after that, we’re all doooooomed.