Radiolab listener and electrical engineer, Mark Alexander, wrote in to let us know about a project that he's working on and we think it's just too cool not to show to yous guys.
Swarm is a collaborative art project with the idea to make a swarm of semi-autonomous rolling robots that travel and interact with whatever is around them. The thing is the robots communicate with one another as they roll around to figure out where they'll go and what they'll do, using sensor inputs and wireless communication. They're also really pretty. The engineers put lights inside them that can change to any color. The orbs make music depending on the pattern they travel in and how close one is from another.
This reminded us a lot of the episode Emergence, where we examine what happens when there is no leader. (Though, technically speaking, there is a 'mothership' that gives directions in the Swarm project.)
To learn more about the project you can go here.
'Vida 10.0' is a quick documentary on the project: