Hod Lipson works at the intersection of engineering and biology, studying robots and the way they "behave" and evolve. His work has exciting implications for design and manufacturing — and serves as a window to understand our own behavior and evolution.

Why you should listen

To say that Hod Lipson and his team at Cornell build robots is not completely accurate: They may simply set out a pile of virtual robot parts, devise some rules for assembly, and see what the parts build themselves into. They've created robots that decide for themselves how they want to walk; robots that develop a sense of what they look like; even robots that can, through trial and error, construct other robots just like themselves.

Working across disciplines -- physics, computer science, math, biology and several flavors of engineer -- the team studies techniques for self-assembly and evolution that have great implications for fields such as micro-manufacturing -- allowing tiny pieces to assemble themselves at scales heretofore impossible -- and extreme custom manufacturing (in other words, 3-D printers for the home).

His lab's Outreach page is a funhouse of tools and instructions, including the amazing Golem@Home -- a self-assembling virtual robot who lives in your screensaver.

Hod Lipson’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Hod Lipson


The World Science Festival is next week in New York City

June 5, 2009

We are excited to report that the World Science Festival is returning for its second year next week in New York City. The five-day program of events is jam-packed with amazing sessions that explore intriguing subjects such as nothingness, the science of traffic, perception of the human face, the neural basis for our enjoyment of […]

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Johnny Lee on the power of video demos

October 26, 2008

In today’s New York Times, Johnny Lee talks about his clever Wii hacks — and how he shared them with the world via viral video. Johnny Lee’s TEDTalk, in which he shows how to make an interactive whiteboard from a $40 game controller, is a perpetual Top 10 talk on TED.com. Lee’s amazing YouTube videos […]

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PopMech's 2007 Breakthrough Awards

October 17, 2007

Some familiar TED faces and themes turn up in Popular Mechanics‘ 2007 Breakthrough Awards, published in the magazine’s November issue. Jeff Han‘s multitouch wall (watch his 2006 TEDTalk) and Hod Lipson‘s print-anything printer (related to his work on robots) are named as two of the awards’ “8 Bold Ideas” for 2007. If you were moved […]

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