Taking a cue from biological cells, researchers from MIT, Columbia University, and elsewhere have developed computationally simple robots that connect in large groups to move around, transport objects, and complete other tasks. In a paper researchers demonstrate these so-called “particle robots” can form into many configurations and fluidly navigate around obstacles and squeeze through tight gaps, as well as, transport objects placed in its way. Notably, none of the particles directly communicate with or rely on one another to function, so particles can be added or subtracted without any impact on the group. In their paper, the researchers show particle robotic systems can complete tasks even when many units malfunction. Read the full article.