So we had a glimpse of what thousands of robotic creatures linked together in harmonic teamwork looked like last year, but certainly didn't expect the European Union to go and drop £1,850,000 ($3,482,810) to make this kind of thing a serious endeavor. Nonetheless, an EU-sponsored 42-month research program into so-called swarm bots is set to commence next month, and will be led by Dr. Marco Dorigo of the University Libre de Bruxelles. The primary focus (aside from instilling an imminent fear of global robotic dominance) is to create a small army of specialized robots that can successfully "adapt to live in buildings," and help us common folk out while they're at it. The project will focus on 60 "dynamically connected autonomous 'bots," known collectively as a Swarmanoid, that consists of eye-bots, hand-bots, and foot-bots. While the names are fairly self-explanatory, eye-bots will handle the vision aspect while grappled onto ceilings, conveying the info to hand-bots (wall climbers and grabbers) and foot-bots (ground terrain specialists). Ultimately, the research team would like to see the bots solve certain "problems" by relying solely on one another's skill sets, and while we are admittedly frightened at what that really means, we'll just cross our fingers that the humans will still be the ones in control 3.5 years from now.
[Via Robot Gossip]