Check out Harvard's thousand-robot flash mob

Robots are big, dumb and clumsy machines that need constant attention from their human handlers, right? Wrong! A research team from Harvard have developed what they’re calling “the first thousand-robot flash mob”.

Researchers have created small robots, named kilobots, that work together in the thousands and tackle complex problems that no single robot could handle by itself.

We are legion!

The tiny autonomous robots have been programmed to act similar to a swarm of insects, with each one following a very simple algorithm. However, when all of them work together new possibilities emerge.

So far the robots don’t do anything super impressive. They can assemble themselves in 2D shapes without human intervention apart from the initial command. But that takes a long time, and isn’t very useful.

However, the researchers are confident and are looking forward toward the near future, when swarms of millions of such tiny killerbots kilobots could be used in all sorts of ways. Imagine for example, countless such robots working together to clean a nature reserve, or put out fires, or search through rubble for survivors.

Due to the way they’re designed, large-scale industrial production would probably be economically feasible, so don’t be shocked when our new robot overlords mechanical friends start showing up everywhere.

Source: Harvard SEAS via: BetaNews | Images courtesy of Mike Rubenstein

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