"Crowdsourcing is a neologism for the act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people or community in the form of an open call." - source; Wikipedia.
I periodically "pop into" the ITP Tisch website to see what the students are up to...very very cool and quirky stuff! Here's how they describe themselves; "ITP is a two-year graduate program located in the Tisch School of the Arts whose mission is to explore the imaginative use of communications technologies — how they might augment, improve, and bring delight and art into people’s lives. Perhaps the best way to describe us is as a Center for the Recently Possible". Check out some of their projects - click here
Kacie Kinzer is a student at the institute and working on a really cute and interesting project; Tweenbots
The concept is pretty simple; build a robot (as above) and then send it out into the public with no navigation capabilities, a particular destination as the objective and rely on people (the crowd) to help it along...i.e. source the crowd or "crowdsourcing". What Kacie is demonstrating is an in-person-real life-real time outsource-positioning-and-tracking-program...simply consisting of and relying upon willing project participants to repair directional error and reprogram positioning of the object...physically!
This is no different from the technological/electronic manner in which people participate to create software (open source) or aggregate knowledge (wikipedia)... Wikipedia describes "crowdsourcing" in a very technical manner...perhaps it needs some appending because Kacie is demonstrating it the offline biological world...
Kacie is going further, developing more robots and gathering associated data - check it out here - you can also be kept posted by sending a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org
So kewl ;-)
P.S. Click here to see some good reads on Amazon.com re crowdsourcing.