Self-organising patterns and systems arise everywhere in nature, from the growth of crystals and the folding of proteins to flocking birds and economic markets. In technology, self-organising swarms of robots and drones are a cutting-edge research interest. In both cases the same principles apply: elaborate behaviour can develop from large numbers of simpler elements interacting according to simple rules.
This video demonstrates how little it takes for self-organisation to occur.
Using nothing more complicated that a petri dish, castor oil, tiny ball bearings as and a high-voltage power supply, it shows the emergence of a self-assembling system of wires in which complex structures and movements that are eerily reminiscent of plant tendrils emerge from simple, local dynamics.