Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ashes to Ashes...

Scottish engineers (alas, not Montgomery Scott) are speculating about tiny robotic "dust particles" which utilize wireless distributed computing and are capable of physically reconfiguring themselves. Consisting of multitudes of individual computer chips surrounded by morphic polymer sheaths, clouds of smart dust could fly in formation and changing shape to meet environmental and mission requirements. These devices would form a swarm intelligence, and could be used to explore alien worlds if released into the atmosphere of extrasolar planets by interplanetary space probes.

Talk of simulated swarms of 50 such particles able to shift into star formation immediately reminded me of one futurist's concept of a starfish-like body built of nanorobots designed for sophisticated AI beings of the future. Absolutely wild.

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