Think about about any of the cyberpunk/dystopian futures that you’ve come across and there’s one thing that they all have in common: the seemingly drab, million shades of brown colour palettes. Now that’s probably the most accurate representation of what would happen in those circumstances what with the downfall of society and all but if some of the latest research to come out of Portugal is anything to go by our future robot overlords could be sporting all sorts of pretty colours.

You know, in order to co-ordinate better so they can eliminate us fleshy meat creatures from the planet:

Whilst the technology is a long way from creating a terminator covered in disco lights it is a rather interesting bit of technology, especially with the cross over between a flying control robot and its minions on the ground. Most systems I’ve seen like this before usually rely on a whole bunch of pre-programmed routines with one of the swarm making itself the leader of the pack in order to make the decisions. Whilst this isn’t too different from that due to the use of a flying master the selection process for targeting a specific robot on the ground is pretty ingenious, especially considering how simple it is.

One thing I’m wondering about though is how effective such a system could be in a much noisier environment than their pristine lab environment. Differences in colour are pretty easy to detect when there’s a high amount of contrast like there is in that environment however it starts to get tricky when there’s a whole bunch of other, similar colours in the near vicinity. There’s also the issue if they use it outside that there will be a lot of ambient light that has the potential to make the flying robot’s job a lot harder. These aren’t insurmountable issues though and you could probably solve both by just ramping up the brightness of the rings or some clever engineering tricks with the light sources (like using specific frequencies and filtering out everything else).

Still be on the lookout for any vaguely human shaped things covered in LEDs. No telling what it could get up to 😉

About the Author

David Klemke

David is an avid gamer and technology enthusiast in Australia. He got his first taste for both of those passions when his father, a radio engineer from the University of Melbourne, gave him an old DOS box to play games on.

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