A tiny version of iRobot's Packbot reconnaissance machine, the Ember, was made to scout hostile environments in swarms, compiling feedback from multiple machines instead of risking a single, bigger robot for the mission.

The Embers, which are around the size of a paperback book, are said to weigh less than a pound and are also equipped with built-in cameras and side flippers to help them vault over any obstacles they might encounter in the field. As part of DARPA's LANDroids program, iRobot was given three years and $2.5 million to develop the Embers. Currently in their first year, iRobot is looking to make the Ember easy to use and cheap, so that they could be left behind on the battlefield if needed. [Danger Room via BBG]