Communion Of Dreams


Well, it’s one small step…
June 19, 2011, 12:36 pm
Filed under: Predictions, Science, Science Fiction, tech

From the first chapter of Communion Of Dreams, describing a terraforming operation:

It was going to take generations to finish, even using mass microbots and fabricating the construction materials from the Martian sands. Tens of thousands of the specially programmed microbots, a few centimeters long and a couple wide, would swarm an area, a carpet of shifting, building insects.

In my novel, the ‘bots are a basic technology, and are a factor in the plot at several points.

And here’s a first step at making them real:

Kilobots Are Cheap Enough to Swarm in the Thousands

These are Kilobots. They’re fairly simple little robots about the size of a quarter that can move around on vibrating legs, blink their lights, and communicate with each other. On an individual basis, this isn’t particularly impressive, but Kilobots aren’t designed to be used on an individual basis. Costing a mere $14 each and buildable in about five minutes, you don’t just get yourself one single Kilobot. Or ten. Or a hundred. They’re designed to swarm in the thousands, although the Harvard group that’s working on them is starting out with a modest 25:

It’s a cool little article, and there are plenty of links to related efforts. But what was particularly fun was this video from the Harvard scientists behind the Kilobots:

That’s one small step for 29 robots, one giant leap for robotkind.

Jim Downey

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