How do birds, fish and insects form flocks? The question puzzles scientists as well as random spectators of animal swarms. But it isn’t as difficult as it looks. Turns out you don’t even need brains to swarm.
Scientists found out by putting so called bristle-bots together in a small area. Bristle-bots are easy-to-make robots. You just put a (tooth)brush, the vibrating motor of a smartphone and a battery together. When the brush starts to vibrate, it moves.
If different bristle-bots meet, they change each others movements and eventually form flocks, as you see in this video.
Giomi, L., Hawley-Weld, N., & Mahadevan, L. (2013). Swarming, swirling and stasis in sequestered bristle-bots Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 469 (2151), 20120637-20120637 DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2012.0637
swarm definition, toothbrush bot, homemade robot