It's now public that Harvard has won one of the latest rounds of Expeditions grants with a engineering/computer science team to build RoboBee. It's an exciting project that highlights the diversity and collaborative spirit of the faculty in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. While I'm not involved in the project several of my colleagues are, and I congratulate them all. Here's the high level description:
"A multidisciplinary team of computer scientists, engineers, and biologists at Harvard received a $10 million National Science Foundation (NSF) Expeditions in Computing grant to fund the development of small-scale mobile robotic devices. Inspired by the biology of a bee and the insect's hive behavior, the researchers aim to push advances in miniature robotics and the design of compact high-energy power sources; spur innovations in ultra-low-power computing and electronic "smart" sensors; and refine coordination algorithms to manage multiple, independent machines."
When talking to two of my colleagues about RoboBee, I quietly expressed that my only concern was that this is how Skynet started. Strangely, neither of them got the reference. Which only makes me more concerned.