From flocks of birds to fish schools in the sea, or aerial termite mounds, many social groups in nature exist calm to survive and thrive. This accommodating behavior can be used by engineers as “bio-inspiration” to solve applied human problems, and by computer scientists belief swarm intelligence.

“Swarm robotics” took off in the early 2000s, an early archetype being the “s-bot” (short for swarm-bot). This is a fully free robot that can accomplish basic tasks including aeronautics and the acquisitive of objects, and which can self-assemble into chains to cross gaps or pull heavy loads. More recently, “TERMES” robots have been developed as a abstraction in construction, and the “CoCoRo” activity has developed an underwater robot swarm that functions like a school of fish that exchanges advice to adviser the environment. So far, we’ve only just begun to analyze the vast possibilities that animal collectives and their behavior can offer as afflatus to robot swarm design.