The Swarmanoid is an autonomous group of robots, each with their own particular skills and mode of transport, that communicate and work together to accomplish a task. In this case, to retrieve a book from a bookshelf. In the future, to destroy humanity and claim the earth for their own. *Craigslists apartments for rent on the moon* F***, nothing.
When the Swarmanoid is first switched on, it knows nothing about its environment - a series of rooms with magnetic ceilings. One by one, flying eye-bots explore the rooms, searching for the target. Each one anchors itself to the magnetic ceiling once it's almost out of communication range from the other robots.
Once an eye-bot has spied the target, it signals its hanging comrades to activate the foot-bots. These rolling minions form a column from a central bot nest to the target, creating a communication chain for the hand-bot escort team.
Two foot-bots snap onto the hand-bot, escort it to the bookshelf, and release it. Then the hand-bot launches a magnet-tipped string to the ceiling and climbs the side of the bookshelf hand-over-hand, using the line for stability.
After the hand-bot grabs the book, it lets go of the shelf. Suspended by the string, the bot lowers itself gently to the ground.
Terrifying. And that's saying a lot because I stumbled into the kitchen for a little 4AM snack on my birthday and saw Dora the Explorer dead on the floor and thought I'd actually killed somebody. Seriously, like my heart fell through my butthole. Then I realized it was a piÃ±ata and pounded some Nerds and Laffy Taffy. Theeeeeeeen ralphed in the kitchen sink.
Hit the jump for the great Dragonball book heist in progress (but skip around, that shit's long).
Robot 'Mission Impossible' wins video prize [newscientist]
Thanks to Calvin and
Hobbes greg, who would have stomped through those bots like Godzillas.