Now here's something you've probably never seen before: a zoo for animal life. Animal life powered by electric and solar energy, that is. The Robotarium X in Alverca, Portugal, contains 45 robots that encompass a range of several distinct species (14) characterized by their unique morphologies and behavior strategies. The robots, built specifically for the zoo, possess certain abilities, including obstacle avoidance, movement or sunlight detection and interaction with the public.
So why, you ask, would anyone go to the trouble of creating a zoo for artificial life when there are already plenty of zoos with real animal life? Leonel Moura, the project's originator, explains his rationale thusly:
"Robotarium X, the first zoo for artificial life, approaches robots very much in the way as we are used to look at natural life. We, humans, enjoy watching and studying other life forms behavior and, sadly, also to capture them. However, in this case, although the robots are confined to a cage it can be said that, not like animals, they enjoy it. In fact the Robotarium is their ideal environment with plenty of sun, smoothness, tranquility and attention. There are no fights or aggression and the only competition is to assure a place under the sunlight.
Plenty more pics of Robotarium X and its coterie of mechanical creatures after the jump.