They're incredibly fast, can run directly up the wall, and coordinate easily among themselves. This swarm of insect-inspired microbots in action is both useful, and a little bit alarming.

The magnetically-activated microbots from SRI International move quickly (you can see them moving in the video at realtime speeds of up to 35 cm/ second) and with a definite insect-like quality. (Just try and resist the urge to reach out and crush one of them when it crawls like a spider right up the wall at around the 0:25 mark.)

SRI says that they hope to use the swarm to build smart structures, possibly with some integrated circuits. And, it's not hard to imagine all kinds of construction applications for these microbots after watching them go through some pretty impressive rapid construction exercises at the end of the video.

Via Re/code