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Robots Inventing Tools

“We already have algorithms to enable machines to use tools and now it is time to develop robots that invent tools”— Dr Pablo Lanillos

The Scenarios

Archaeological Site of Atapuerca in Spain - A UNESCO World Heritage Site.jpg

The Hidden Past

We know, through archaeological records of ancient technologies, that there was a critical transition from using tools, a widespread animal behaviour, to making tools. Around 3.3 million years ago, our hominin ancestors made the first tools, creating simple stones with sharp edges.


Tools for Inventing Tools

Tool invention is an outstanding technological milestone in human history. If we understand these processes, a similar breakthrough can be envisioned in engineering.

The Wider Context

Eight projects have been funded by the European Innovation Council (EIC) to develop technologies based on awareness principles that will feed novel engineered complex systems, that are more resilient, self-developing and human-centric.


This challenge places awareness as a prerequisite for real and contextualised problem-solving and action adaptation (and their consequences) to specific circumstances.

Awareness matters

Awareness and self-awareness may serve to provide a human-aligned, coherent and purposeful behaviour, learning, adaptation, and self-development of intelligent systems over longer periods.

Ricardo Sanz, the project leader of MetaTool: "Autonomous machines shall have a better perception of their environment and capabilities, and awareness technologies will be a step forward."

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