A swarm of autonomous, mini-helicopters have built a toy tower, demonstrating that machines could one day build structures without humans present. This could keep humans out of dangerous areas, such as when building super tall skyscrapers or even construction buildings in war zones.
The quadrotors, developed by the GRASP Lab at the University of Pennsylvania, move around, assemble small girders and work together thanks to an algorithm written by Daniel Mellinger and his colleagues.
The building commands are sent to the quadrotors wirelessly. Each helicopter has gripper that can hoist horizontal or vertical components that snap together during assembly with magnets. Now if we can just get magnets on girders! Fun video. Check it out.