The next step towards self-driving cars and autonomous highways may be an electronic ant colony. Developed at Harvard, the Kilobot works as part of a swarm to complete tasks. Once a command is given the robots communicate with each other to get the job done and correct their own mistakes along the way. It’s the first time we’ve seen a thousand robots in a swarm, and the design team says the Kilobots’ artificial intelligence is an important step towards perfecting how robots can work together in large numbers. That could be anything from a dangerous environmental cleanup operation, or a highway full of self-driving cars.
The device which became the unofficial template for the modern smartphone is about to go on display at the London Science Museum. It’s the IBM Simon, and it was launched on August 16, 1994. Despite being 20 years old, it has a touchscreen, and a cartridge slot to load specially made apps. The $900 phone isn’t very compact and it’s as heavy as four iPhones. Battery life is even less impressive, only managing to last for an hour before heading back to the charger. The IBM Simon will be featured as part of the museum’s new Information Age exhibit, which opens at the end of October.
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