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    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2008
    "Swarms of robots that use electromagnetic forces to cling together and assume different shapes are being developed by US researchers.

    The grand goal is to create swarms of microscopic robots capable of morphing into virtually any form by clinging together.

    Seth Goldstein, who leads the research project at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, in the US, admits this is still a distant prospect.

    However, his team is using simulations to develop control strategies for futuristic shape-shifting, or "claytronic", robots, which they are testing on small groups of more primitive, pocket-sized machines.

    These prototype robots use electromagnetic forces to manoeuvre themselves, communicate, and even share power."

    Here's the New Scientist story:

    Here's a video clip:

    Here's another NS piece about the project's long term objective:
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2008
    A message to the Robo-phobic:

    Commence shitting yourselves....

    • CommentAuthorlex
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2008
    Sounds pretty cool. In software, swarm intelligence does already work. Good examples can be found in different movies like LotR (the animated Orc armies rushing through a small opening) or one of the Matrix sequels (forgot which one, erased most of them from my living memory) where all the little tentacle robots fly around in swarms attacking puny humans in mechas.
      CommentAuthorJoe Paoli
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2008
    This is pretty cool stuff. I do wonder how long it's going to take to get self-powered/recharging robot swarms though. I had an old thread where I posted a working 'fly' micro-robot with a wingspan of 3cm. But all they've perfected was the wings with a little wire hanging off them.

    It's pretty impressive that 'robots' even the size of these little guys can be made, but they're still too big to worry about. In 20 years, when something that size has onboard power, built in bluetooth, camera, microphone, a microprocessor, and wings, then I guess it'll be too late to worry. I think I'll go read Crighton's Prey again to prepare.
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2008
    Has nobody read Tom Strong!?

    It's the The Modular Man!