Posts Tagged ‘ Kilobots ’

Kilobots form Synchronised, Complex Shapes

Recently a report came up on 14 Augsut’14 which says Harvard researchers have designed a swarm of small, mobile robots which are able to organize themselves into large shapes from random starting points with minimal initial human assistance. This technology is in research from few years, and referred as “Kilobots”.

The Kilobots are a team of 1,024(210 being a conveniently binary number) simple robots that operate as a collective to complete the assigned task, much like the Borg in Star Trek or termites in a termite mound, and been shown to demonstrate the ability to swarm together to form complex shapes like the letter “K”, or a starfish. The researcher team at Harvard first introduced their Kilobots in 2011, and this time they have built one thousand of it. The research is another step in the development of artificially intelligent self-organising systems that will affect everyday life in the future.

Each robot can bounce an infrared signal off the ground to another bot beside it, allowing it to sense where it is in relation to others in the swarm. Bouncing that signal can also ensure that one’s robotic neighbors are on the same page for when and how a task is supposed to be carried out . Knowing where other robots are is essential when it comes to locating objects in a given environment and bringing them back to the home base.

Professor Radhika Nagpal (from Harvard School of Engineering and applied Sciences) said: Increasingly, we’re going to see large numbers of robots working together, whether its hundreds of robots co-operating to achieve environmental clean up or a quick disaster response, or millions of self-driving cars on our highways. Understanding how to design ‘good’ systems at that scale will be critical.

The results of the experiment are published in the journal Science.

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