Reprap is alive!
The world's first self-reproducing fab machine has built its first copy--which promptly began to build a copy of itself
This one's from the unbelievably cool department: reprap has built its first child machine!
Reprap is the world's first self-reproducing machine. Mind-boggling as this sounds, the proof is in the picture; and, if you take some time to explore the site, in the project's extensive documentation.
Not that reprap is yet able to sit in a corner by itself and knock off copies of itself without human aid--it still needs people to screw the bits together and as yet not all of its electronics can be made by itself. Think of the human beings and electronics as being like environmentally-available resources, free-floating enzymes, say, that facilitate the work of the reprap. It needs them, like we need air; but that doesn't mean it's not reproducing by itself.
The idea is that the irreproducible parts should be commodities you can find in any electronics supply store; what reprap makes is its unique pieces.
Reprap is now alive, by some definitions. It's is a stunning milestone and happened a lot faster than I expected it would. Thanks to Michael Nielsen for alerting me to this!