Order yourself a Kilobot pack from Harvard University, and you get a swarm of 1,024 tiny robots that will work in sync to do your bidding. A miniature, mechanical flash mob, only less chaotic.
“There’s lots of this self-organisation in biology: army ants form bridges; cells come together to create multi-cellular creatures,” explains Michael Rubenstein, lead researcher and robotics mastermind at the Self-organizing Systems Research Group.
But he’s looking beyond our planet for applications for his multi-bot invention. His current plan is to programme the robots to mass themselves into one big, shape-shifting spacebot. “If you’re going to Mars, you have to bring every tool, but the weight gets really expensive,” he explains. “Instead, you could have one box of tiny robots that form themselves into any tool.”
Communicating between their centremetres-long selves using infrared sensors, these animatronic worker ants move using two vibration motors. And they’ll only set you back £9 each (if you by parts in bulk for an army of 1,000) so you can amass your miniature army for less than a Bentley smartphone.
Via. Wired http://bit.ly/18uqjX6