Mascarillons: flying swarm intelligence for scientific, architectural and artistic research

Patrick pointed me on this cool project: Mascarillons, carried out - partly - at our school. Their tagline is very appealing: "Flying swarm intelligence for scientific, architectural and artistic research" and those flying cubes with an exo-skeleton all around them are terrific! They fly/float in the air and self-assemble.

The Mascarillons are the first rigid aerobots developed for the [ SAILS ] project. They are flying cubic automata able to develop collective behaviors and assemblages through swarm-intelligence protocols. Standing at a crossroad between Art and Science, the [ SAILS ] project aims to bring together researchers both in artistic and scientific domain to collaborate towards the production of a robotic environment dedicated to architectural, technological and scientific research, with a major potential for multi-media performance. The final result will see a flock of 12 to 20 Mascarillons evolving within a spherical inflatable dome equipped with panoscopic projectors.

More about it in this paper: Nembrini, J., Reeves, N., Poncet, E., Martinoli, A. and Winfield, A. "Flying Swarm Intelligence for Architectural Research" Communication at the 2005 IEEE Swarm Intelligence Symposium, Pasadena, June 2005.

Plus, there is a video about it on Discovery Channel.