Euro scientists building real-life Transformers

Those mad scientists across the pond are at it again. European scientists have just launched a $9 million project to create a prototype team of self-organizing, self-healing, shape-changing mini robots that can work as a team by 2013. The scientists behind the project say that future applications include search and rescue missions, space exploration, and medicine. The prototype swarm will consist of several hundred individual autonomous units, each measuring around an inch square, and the robots will be able to evolve, adapt and collaborate without human supervision. Ya, you read that last part right.

Now, if you know anything about self-organizing, shape-changing robots, you know that they don’t like taking directions—especially from daft, emotional creatures like humans. So a more likely scenario with this whole program is that the robots will abandon the scientists’ best-laid plans, and evolve into two camps of their own creation: robots programmed to destroy, and robots programmed to protect. Naturally, power struggles will ensue, and we could end up with a ROMI robot gone evil, up against EveR-1, a friendly Korean robot that likes to read stories to children. The ensuing death match would determine the future of the planet. So, ya, thanks again Euro scientists, great plan.