A thousand-robot swarm created by Harvard researchers can self-assemble into different shapes
From the editor’s summary in Science:
When individuals swarm, they must somehow communicate to direct collective motion. Swarms of robots need to deal with outliers, such as robots that move more slowly than the rest. Rubenstein et al. created a large swarm of programmed robots that can form collaborations using only local information. The robots could communicate only with nearby members, within about three times their diameter. They were able to assemble into complex preprogrammed shapes. If the robots’ formation hit snags when they bumped into one another or because of an outlier, additional algorithms guided them to rectify their collective movements.
This may still be some time away. But I wouldn’t get too comfortable with human civilization in its current form.
(via IEEE Spectrum)
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