'Dumb' robot ants are alarmingly smart (and strong) working together | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

'Dumb' robot ants are alarmingly smart (and strong) working together

A team of Swiss researchers with bugs on the brain has created an army of simple robotic "ants" capable of some impressive feats. The takeaway from these 10 gram bots, which are inexpensive to make and surprisingly simple in design? Teamwork makes the dream work.

As described in a new paper in the journal Nature, the ants can communicate with each other, assign roles among themselves, and complete complex tasks and overcome obstacles together. That means that while simple compared to much more complex autonomous agents, these origami-inspired robots can solve complex challenges, such navigating uneven surfaces or, yes, moving comparatively huge objects.

The robots, which are T-shaped and called Tribots by researchers at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, a Swiss research institute, have infrared and proximity sensors for detection and communication. Made of foldable thin materials, they're also easy to manufacture. The actuated robots can jump and crawl to explore uneven surfaces.