Evolving three-dimensional objects with a generative encoding inspired by developmental biology

Author(s): 
Clune J
Lipson H
Year: 
2011
Abstract: 

This paper introduces an algorithm for evolving 3D objects with a generative encoding that abstracts how biological morphologies are produced. Evolving interesting 3D objects is useful in many disciplines, including artistic design (e.g. sculpture), engineering (e.g. robotics, architecture, or product design), and biology (e.g. for investigating morphological evolution). A critical element in evolving 3D objects is the representation, which strongly influences the types of objects produced. In 2007 a representation was introduced called Compositional Pattern Producing Networks (CPPN), which abstracts how natural phenotypes are generated. To date, however, the ability of CPPNs to create 3D objects has barely been explored. Here we present a new way to create 3D objects with CPPNs. Experiments with both interactive and target-based evolution demonstrate that CPPNs show potential in generating interesting, complex, 3D objects. We further show that changing the information provided to CPPNs and the functions allowed in their genomes biases the types of objects produced. Finally, we validate that the objects transfer well from simulation to the real-world by printing them with a 3D printer. Overall, this paper shows that evolving objects with encodings based on concepts from biological development can be a powerful way to evolve complex, interesting objects, which should be of use in fields as diverse as art, engineering, and biology.


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On http://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 and crossed over to produce new offspring objects. Additionally, the objects are grown from their genomes 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. For more info visit: http://endlessforms.com/about_the_technology.

EndlessForms.com - Design objects with evolution and 3D print them!

On http://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.

Pub. Info: 
Proceedings of the European Conference on Artificial Life. 144-148
BibTeX: 

@article{Clune:2011:EOG:2078245.2078246,
author = {Clune, Jeff and Lipson, Hod},
title = {Evolving 3D Objects with a Generative Encoding Inspired by Developmental Biology},
journal = {SIGEVOlution},
volume = {5},
number = {4},
month = nov,
year = {2011},
issn = {1931-8499},
pages = {2--12},
numpages = {11},
url = {http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2078245.2078246},
doi = {10.1145/2078245.2078246},
acmid = {2078246},
publisher = {ACM},
address = {New York, NY, USA},
}