He explained that Intel researchers are working to figure out how to harness millions of miniature robots, called catoms, so they could function as shape-shifting swarms. "What if those machines had a small amount of intelligence, and they could assemble themselves into various shapes and were capable of movement or locomotion?" he said. "If you had enough of them, you could create arbitrary shapes and have the assembly of machines that could take on any form and move in arbitrary ways." The basic idea is that the catoms, which one day should be about the size of a grain of sand, could be manipulated with electromagnetic forces to cling together in various 3D forms. Rattner said that Intel has been expanding on research work done by Seth Goldstein, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University. "We're actually doing it for real," Rattner said. He added that Intel started "at the macro scale," with catoms that were "inches across." The robots had microprocessors associated with them and could attract or repel one another via electromagnetism or the use of electrostatic charges, according to Rattner. "It's programmable matter," he said.Sure, it's programmable now, but just wait - All it takes is one of those things to get exposed to the All-Spark, and then... well, you know what's about to happen.