A team of "swarm-bots" negotiates challenging terrain outside a laboratory in Brussels, Belgium. A red color ring tells others, "Grab me;" blue means "stay away." Scientists study ant colonies, bird flocks, mammal herds, and fish schools to understand the simple genius of such animal swarms. Robots that mimic this complex group behavior could prove useful in a number of human applications.
(Text adapted from and photo shot on assignment for "Swarm Theory," July 2007, National Geographic magazine)