SO what does the control system for this army of motors look like? How do we see what it's doing and see what it sees? Seems like we have invented the the resistor and are say "Wow now we can fly to the moon" Seems like there's a lot of work ahead before this becomes a moon rocket. A lot of the system hasn't even been dreamed of yet, me thinks.
An "army" of small motiles could provide a "live" surface. Reflect light at an angle you wish? Move repair materials to a damage site? Change the color or textural appearance of a fabric or other surface? Perhaps "nanoelectrotrucks" could move good things across cellular barriers, or bad things out of where they shouldn't be. Perhaps they could coat tumors, and deny them nutrients, causing them to die. C'mon, these things may never do anything at all, or they might be the beginning of a new industry. How about antennas that can dynamically change frequency band and directional characteristics. Think of being about to move things you couldn't move before; think about being able to shape, at the molecular level, the contours of a surface.... think about all the money poured down the drain chasing windmills, and tell me why this isn't a good place to dump a few spare tens of millions in a half-dozen universities.
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.