You could call it Mission Impossible: Robot Library Heist. An army of flying, rolling, and climbing robots have been taught to work together to find and snatch a book from a high shelf.
In a striking display of military-like precision, the robotic team, dubbed the "Swarmanoid", attacks the problem with flying "eye-bots" and rolling "foot-bots". A "hand-bot" then fires a grappling hook-like device up to the ceiling and scales the bookshelf. Footage of the experiment, conducted by Marco Dorigo at the Free University of Brussels, Belgium, and colleagues, won the video competition at the Conference on Artificial Intelligence in San Francisco earlier this week (an edited version appears above).
For those of us who are old enough, this is what our dreams were made of.
It is now becoming reality.
This is very cool. It reminds me of the virtual evolution experiments run with virtual robots: the successful ones learn to cooperate and make more robots. Yep, altruism evolves in robots :-) See here. I'm pretty sure I posted this in AU a few months back but can't find the discussion now.
Breaking down the task in simpler steps manageable with simpler implements and coordinating then all. Observation, guidance, transport, manipulation.
Now imagine that at the nano-scale in mega-quantities.