An interesting project called Kilobots has been unveiled this week which consists of 1,000 tiny swarming robots, that can to made to combine to tackle tasks set for them, as well as maybe teach us about the natural world, say their developers.
Check out the video below to see how engineers are programming these tiny Kilobot robots to cooperate on group tasks. Which could one day lead to robots that can assemble themselves into machines, watch out Skynet. Or even provide insights into how swarming behaviours take place in nature.
Kilobots were designed by Michael Rubenstein, a research scientist in the Self Organizing Systems Research Group at Harvard. Each robot consists of about $15 worth of parts: a microprocessor that is about as smart as a calculator, sensors for visible and infrared light, and two tiny cell-phone vibration units that allow it to move across a table. They are powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, like those found in small electronics or watches.
The kilobots are programed all at once, as a group, using infrared light. Each kilobot gets the same set of instructions as the next. With just a few lines of programming, the kilobots, together, can act out complex natural processes. The same kinds of simple instructions that kilobots use to self-assemble into shapes can make them mimic natural swarming behaviors, too. For example, kilobots can sync their flashing lights like a swarm of fireflies, differentiate similar to cells in an embryo and follow a scent trail like foraging ants.
For more information on the new Kilobot robots jump over to the Deep Look YouTube channel website for details by following the link below.