Each of the Swarm robots on wheels has red, yellow and green lights, like a traffic light. The project aims at programing lots (10,000 or more) of robots to communicate with each other and work together like ants and bees.
The robots communicate using an infrared light signal that begins with a chosen leader and then spreads to the rest. When they start “talking” to each other, the lights begin flashing. Each light has an accompanying sound to tell the bots how far away they are from each other.
iRobot, the developer of the technology (also famous for their Roomba), used the system to look for land mines, sending the leader first. If it found something, it would send out a signal to its 200 companions. Even if they all can’t see the leader, it works as long as one can. Then it sends out a signal to the next, and so on.
The technology could be used for other tasks, such as looking for earthquake survivors or even exploring Mars.
Via Bigblog Robotics Popular Mechanics.
Related The Cyber Rodent project.