These tiny Kilobots are not named for their heft. The ‘bots are roughly the size of a quarter and move about on tiny vibrating toothpick legs. Individually, they aren’t much to look at. But Kilobots aren’t supposed to be taken in individually--they’re designed to swarm in the thousands, and at $14 a pop they very well may be doing so soon.
Developed at the Self Organizing Systems Research Group at Harvard, Kilobots demonstrate some interesting swarm behaviors, even if they’re not necessarily “doing” anything yet. In this case, the robots can all be programmed to perform a task at the same time in less than 40 seconds via an overhead infrared controller. And once a task is set before them, they can communicate with other Kilobots in their immediate vicinity to carry out their programming.