Spontaneous Robot Dances Highlight a New Kind of Order in Active Matter

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When a swarm of smarticles is made to interact in a confined space, they form stunningly symmetric dances whose choreography emerges spontaneously from the physics of low rattling. (Credit: Thomas A. Berrueta)

The flower-like set of points represents all possible shapes that the smarticle swarm can take on. In line with rattling theory, the most common shapes are also the most orderly with the lowest rattling (shown in blue). (Credit: Thomas A. Berrueta)