Jerks at Harvard have created 1,024 little robots that can work together to form shapes. For reference, that makes them infinitely less dysfunctional than my own department at work. We can barely hold a meeting without people trying to kill each other.
Each of the identical robots is given a picture of the required shape, and then they work together to make it happen.
It takes up to 12 hours, but then this is the biggest throng of robots ever built and studied in this way.
Inspired by biological examples, like cells forming organs or ants building bridges, the work could help develop self-assembling tools and structures.
"Each robot is identical and we give them all the exact same program," explained Dr Michael Rubenstein, the first author of the study, which is published in Science.
"The only thing they have to go on, to make decisions, is what their neighbours are doing."
Impressive work. If the only information I had to go on to make decisions was what my neighbor was doing it would be, "Alternate between watching daytime TV and masturbating." What he needs to do is get a job and buy some blinds.
Keep going for a couple more shots and a video of the little bastards in action.
Thanks to Muttley, Rev Dr Dom, yej, Bongo and Arrogant Tiger, who all just laced up their robot-stomping boots.