This chapter describes our work in evolution of buildable structural designs. Designs evolve by means of interaction with reality, mediated by a simulation that knows about the properties of their modular components: commercial off-the-shelf building blocks.
This is the first example of reality-constrained evolutionary morphology: entities that evolve under space and gravitational constraints imposed by the physical world, but are free to organize in any way. We do not consider movement; our aim is to show how complete structural organization, a fundamental concept for ALife, may begin to be addressed.
The resulting artifacts, induced by various manually specified fitness functions, are built and shown to behave correctly in the real world. They are not based in building heuristics or rules such as a human would use. We show how these artifacts are founded upon emergent rules discovered and exploited by the dynamic interaction of recombination and selection under reality constraints.
Weak search methods such as simulated evolution have great potential for exploring spaces of designs and artifacts beyond the limits of what people usually do.We present a prototype CAD tool that incorporates evolution as a creative component that creates new designs in collaboration with a human user.
Parts of this research have been reported on the following publications: [46,48,49,110,47,111,45].