Swarms of tiny, cute robots will one day bring you your phone, like this
These tiny “Zooids” work together at high speed to act as tools, display information or move things around like little ants. Their creators, a multi-university group of roboticists, propose them as the beginning of a new type of “swarm user interface.”
Each robot has little wheels, a touch sensor and gyros, and an optical sensor on top that monitors its position by watching patterns coming from a projector overhead. They don’t operate independently, rather taking instructions on where to go from the computer tracking them.
They can manipulate real-life objects themselves, as well: in the video, they push a phone closer to a user, and one can imagine them tidying a desk when nobody is around, or coming out of a hole in the wall to collect crumbs and put your slippers away.