EndlessForms.com: Design objects automatically in your browser using evolution and 3D print them.
On EndlessForms.com objects are evolved in the same way that plants and animals are bred. You pick the ones you like and they become the parents of the next generation of objects. As in biological evolution, the offspring look similar, but not identical, to their parents, allowing you to explore different designs. Under the hood, there is an evolutionary process in which the genomes of parents are mutated to produce new offspring objects. Each object is grown from its genome similar to how a single fertilized egg grows into a jaguar, hawk, or human. This grounding in developmental biology enables the evolution of complex, natural-looking forms. Once designed, the objects can be 3D printed (e.g. in silver, steel, or bronze). The practical purpose of the site is to allow people to create unique physical objects and see the power of evolution in action. The scientific purpose of the site is to explore what complex morphologies can be created with a computational implementation of developmental biology, which is a step toward creating robots whose bodies and brains rival the complexity, intelligence, and agility of natural organisms.
For more info, visit EndlessForms.com.
J, Lipson H (2011) Evolving three-dimensional objects with a generative
encoding inspired by developmental biology. Proceedings of the European
Conference on Artificial Life. 144-148. (pdf)