National Geographic has an interesting article on swarm intelligence. We've covered previous attempts at open sourcing design and crowd sourcing. I remain a bit skeptical on the matter give that hard design is not like software. Nevertheless the article is superb.
More at National Geographic
"In biology, if you look at groups with large numbers, there are very few examples where you have a central agent," says Vijay Kumar, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. "Everything is very distributed: They don't all talk to each other. They act on local information. And they're all anonymous. I don't care who moves the chair, as long as somebody moves the chair. To go from one robot to multiple robots, you need all three of those ideas."
Hat tip to Boing Boing