My latest article at TheFeature.com is about UltraSwarms, flocks of flying Bluetooth robots:
A typical flock of 2,000 starlings contains as much brain tissue as a single human being. Of course, you can't link together bird brains. Not real birds, anyway. But a small group of roboticists at the University of Essex are designing a system to wirelessly network a swarm of tiny, Bluetooth-enabled unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) into a cluster of flying computers acting as one processor more powerful than the sum of its bots.Link
Someday, flocks of shoebox-sized UAVs called UltraSwarms could act as a distributed eye in the sky, monitoring highway traffic, aiding in crowd control or even entertainment at massive sports arenas or, of course, embarking on military surveillance missions. Much of the data they gather -- video from onboard cameras, for example -- will be dealt with in the sky, delivering only "news you can use" to a central command. For any of these applications to fly though, the researchers must weave together two threads in computer science research: cluster computing and swarm intelligence.
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.