Engineers from Cornell's Creative Machines Lab have created EndlessForms, a website that allows you to breed your own 3-D objects -- using the same principles as evolutionary biology. Here's how it works: A "generation" of objects is displayed, from lamps to butterflies and users can pick and choose to decide how they will breed. Then, a new generation is created that can be bred further to create an entirely new object. Users can then have the objects 3D printed and made into real objects in silver, ceramic and so on. They can also go back and trace the lineage of the evolved forms
According to the site, EndlessForms' practical purpose is "to allow people to create unique physical objects and see the power of evolution in action." Scientifically speaking, its goal 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." Of course, robots.
Outside of that, EndlessForms, whose name is taken from the last line of Darwin's On the Origin of Species, allows its visitors to engage with 3D shaping technology without requiring the technical know-how required by computer-aided design programs. For more background, check out the EndlessForms website.