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Robots are increasingly becoming a part of life in manufacturing plants. Now, a multi-university group of roboticists has created a tiny swarm of bots that could become everyday helpers at home.

Called “Zooids,” the bots were unveiled recently at the Association for Computing Machinery’s UIST conference.

The team that developed them said their goal was to create a new type of “swarm user interface.”

Equipped with tiny wheels, gyros and sensors that monitor position from a projector overhead, the bots take instructions from a computer about what to do.

"Our research work fills this current gap in user interface technologies by introducing Zooids and swarm user interfaces. A Zooid is a hardware and software system: a small wheel-propelled robot with position and touch sensing capabilities that can be freely arranged and repositioned on any horizontal surface, both through user manipulation and computer control,” the team wrote in a paper.

The researchers touted the potential of using the bots to bring objects (as shown in this video), tidying around the house, or manipulating objects in other ways. The bots can also form shapes to give information.

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