Swarms of robots that use electromagnetic forces to cling together and assume different shapes are being developed by US researchers.
The grand goal is to create swarms of microscopic robots capable of morphing into virtually any form by clinging together.
Seth Goldstein, who leads the research project at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, in the US, admits this is still a distant prospect.
However, his team is using simulations to develop control strategies for futuristic shape-shifting, or "claytronic", robots, which they are testing on small groups of more primitive, pocket-sized machines.
These prototype robots use electromagnetic forces to manoeuvre themselves, communicate