Remote controlled Quadrocopters (aircraft powered by 4 rotors) have been cropping up around the world for a while now. The combination of stability and manoeuvrability makes them perfect aerial toys but at heart they are essentially robots and wherever there are robots, there are robotics scientists.
A team from KMel Robotics, in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania have developed a swarm of nano-quadrocopters which can accept some scarily advanced programming. In this video the team demonstrate how the little bots can fly in formation and even alter their flight patterns to navigate around objects, contracting and expanding like some kind of creepy, flying mecha-water.
It’s a brilliant bit of robotics and an excellent demonstration. I just hope that somebody has John Connor’s number to hand.