Tiny Kilobots to go on sale

Do you think that you’ll never be able to afford a robot of your own that isn’t a toy? Well, if you can get Swiss robot-maker K-Team Corporation to sell you one, chances are you can easily afford a Kilobot — perhaps even a whole bunch of them. Designed and first built by Harvard University’s Self-Organizing Systems Research Group, the three-legged robots aren’t much larger than the 3.4-volt button cell batteries that power them, and move by vibrating across smooth, flat surfaces. They were created to study robotic swarming behaviour, with the intention that tens, hundreds or even thousands of them could be used simultaneously in one experiment. Harvard has just announced that it has licensed the Kilobot technology to K-Team, which will commercially manufacture the robots so that other groups and institutions can purchase them for their own research.

Along with its lithium-ion battery and rigid legs, each Kilobot incorporates an LED bulb, two motors (which vibrate the legs), a wide-angle infrared transceiver, and a microcontroller. An unlimited number of the little guys can be programmed via a computer-linked overhead infrared controller in under 40 seconds, and each have the ability to act autonomously, based on the parameters of that programming — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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