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Robot Swarms for the Masses

Looks like another Michael Crichton future is here.

Another Michael Crichton future is here in the form of Kilobots, quarter-sized mobile robots that are capable of communicating with each other. A product of Harvard’s Self-organizing Systems Research Group, the little Kilobots offer anyone the opportunity to create a swarm of thousands of organized mini-machines.

The bots themselves are simple enough to be built in a few minutes for about $14 apiece. You can even “buy them directly” from Harvard if you like. They move about by vibrating their little legs. Right now the Harvard group is working with around 25 kilobots at a time, with all of the bots receiving commands from a central wireless controller.

They communicate with each other by bouncing infrared beams off the ground and into a receiver on the underside of a nearby bot. This method eliminates the need for the spinning bots to be oriented in a specific fashion to communicate.

Watch the rest at Motherboard.