Harvard Develops a Swarm of 1,024 Autonomous ‘Kilobots’ That Assemble Themselves Into Elaborate Shapes

Computer scientists and engineers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have developed a swarm of 1,024 autonomous “kilobots” capable of assembling themselves into elaborate shapes. The robots are given a shape to replicate, and they use infrared signals to communicate with one another to determine where the border of the shape should be, and then they scuttle to find a place within that border.

The kilobots can be used to study how animals like ants cooperate in nature, and how those techniques can be translated to robot behavior. They work similarly to a swarm of termite-inspired construction robots developed earlier by one of the kilobot creators Radhika Nagpal and her Self-Organizing Systems Research Group.

Harvard debuted the kilobots last year, and SciShow host Hank Green gives a simple explanation about how they work in a 2014 episode of the show.

kilobots 1

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photos via Harvard

via The Awesomer