The Kilobots are unassuming little robots being constructed by scientists at Harvard University. Each bot is just a few centimeters across, you could easily squash it with your foot. But there is not just one Kilobot. There are thousands, and they think and work together.
In 2011, when Kilobots launched, we wrote:
So far, scientists have figured out how to program the Kilobots to "forage," synchronize, and get in formation. Eventually, similarly controlled bots could move through disaster situations to find survivors (like these other disaster bots), create support structures in collapsed buildings, and even help the dwindling bee population pollinate crops.
K-Team Mobile Robotics is producing and distributing the Kilobot, which they bill as "a low-cost, easy-to-use robotic system for advancing development of 'swarms’ of robots that can be programmed to perform useful functions by coordinating interactions among many individuals." That, or a low-cost, easy-to-use way to learn the basics of constructing evil robot swarms.
But at the time, there were only a few Kilobots swarming. Now, as you can see in the video above, from a recent report in Science, they have put a huge group of them together, all working in concert. It seems calm and cute, as they form themselves automatically into funny shapes like a wrench and a starfish. Just wait until the army of them is outside your door.