Science and Health

Could Kilobots Be The Technology Of The Future?

Harvard scientists have created tiny robots called Kilobots, which come together to form shapes.

Could Kilobots Be The Technology Of The Future?
Mike Rubenstein and Science/AAAS

Harvard says it has created the first robot flash mob. 

These individual little robots called Kilobots are only an inch wide and can form shapes as a group by just blinking at one another. 

The bots operate completely on their own once an instruction is given.

Four Kilobots work as markers, and the other bots receive the 2-D image they're supposed to form. Any mistakes that might occur, like a robot traffic jam, can be corrected without human intervention. 

This might not seem like much now, but scientists believe these bots could eventually work together to help with environmental cleanup and disaster response.

Boston Globe reporter even theorized this research could lead to the Kilobots "building a base on another planet before humans arrive" or "crawling into rubble after an earthquake to search for survivors."

A National Geographic article says the scientists behind the Kilobots were inspired by ants working together to form a common goal. 

And when you think about it, the Kilobots do kind of look like freaky Space Age bugs.

Surprisingly, Kilobots are actually pretty cheap. Each little bot only costs about $20.

This video contains photos by Mike Rubenstein and Science/AAAS.