Top 10: Swarmbots!

Computers & Mobile Craft & Design Robotics
Top 10: Swarmbots!

I first thought to call this post When Bots Attack or something similarly FOX-esque, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. There’s been plenty of alarmism about robots recently, and swarming robots are particularly juicy targets for people looking to stir up controversy since there seems to be something particularly loathsome and/or frightening to us about swarming creatures in general.

But unlike Professor Frink’s Death Ray, there are plenty of good and noble applications for swarmbots, and the tendency to villainize them makes me wish for some other word to describe the good guys of the swarming robot world. “Flockbots,” maybe?

Or perhaps the right response is a repurposing of the many underused collective nouns for groups of animals developed in the 19th century. Can we look forward to “coveys” of cleaning-bots and “gaggles” of gold-mining bots? Personally, I hope so. Better stay away from the one for crows, though. No one’s ever going to trust a “murder” of mail-bots, even if all they ever do is bring us packages from Amazon.


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I-Swarm, real micro-sized robots!


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Swarm-bots attack


Open source swarmbots


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Self-righting autonomous swarming robots


MIT hushing up swarmbot display tech?


Open source swarm robot project


Robotic swarm over Switzerland


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Harvard’s $14 Swarm-bot Design


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Multitouch robot swarm controller


CNC bacteria swarm builds tiny pyramid

Did I miss a good one? Let me know, below!

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan


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