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August 14, 2014

This thousand-bot swarm is the future of robotics

Tags:
robotics

Popular Mechanics: A swarm of more than 1,000 tiny robots can assemble itself into complex shapes such as letters of the alphabet.

Until now, robot swarms that work together as teams had been limited in size to dozens or hundreds of robots. But computer scientist Michael Rubenstein at Harvard University and his colleagues have shown they can program 1,024 tiny robots known as Kilobots, each a little more than three centimeters wide, to assemble themselves into various 2-D shapes, such as a wrench or a five-pointed star, as they reveal today in the journal Science.

"This is a huge accomplishment. No one has demonstrated swarm behavior at that scale before in hardware," says roboticist Hod Lipson at Cornell University, who did not take part in this research.

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Tags:
robotics
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