Cornell University researchers have created a machine that can build copies of itself within next 3 minutes. Admittedly the machine is just a proof of concept – it performs no useful function except to self-replicate – but the basic principle could be extended to create robots that could replicate or at least repair themselves while working in space or in hazardous environments.

The robots may also have needful equipment and tools to perform given operation, e.g. the surgery inside the human body. This robotic implant could replace surgeons in performing simple tasks. Researchers also state that their invention would have many possible applications in space exploring, e.g. robots placed on an unknown planet could replicate and explore the planet in a short time, being able to repair themselves in case of a damage.