Scientists created a new four-legged robot that can sense damage to its body and think up a way to recover:
"In the beginning, the robot starts off and does not know what it looks like. You look at it, and you see that it's a four-legged machine. But the robot itself doesn't know that. All it knows is that it could be a snake, it could be a tree, it could have six legs," Lipson said in an interview.
Lipson said the robot used various movements of its joints, first to generate hypotheses and then to formulate an accurate conception of itself.
The researchers then tested the robot's ability to adapt to new situations -- in this case injury -- by shortening one of its legs. "The robot knows something's wrong," Lipson said.