Photokina 2014 highlights

Swarm Robotics

Just a few of the Kilobots that were part of the swarm

Ants, schooling fish and flocking birds all have something in common – they can achieve things by working together that they could never do on their own. With that in mind, researchers are now looking into ways of allowing "swarms" of communicating robots to accomplish tasks that are difficult or even impossible for single robots. Harvard University recently performed an unprecedented demonstration of that behavior, in which a batch of over 1,000 tiny Kilobots arranged themselves into a variety of pre-assigned two-dimensional shapes.  Read More

One hundred Kilobots move towards a light source

Robots by the dozen are prohibitively expensive, so actually testing how large swarms would work together is often limited to computer simulations. That's where Harvard's Kilobots are beginning to bear fruit – at a cost of US$14 each in batches of a thousand, they're a tenth the cost of their cheapest competitor. At such bargain-basement prices, Michael Rubenstein, Christian Ahler, and Radhika Nagpal at the Self-Organizing Systems Research Group have begun to build their own little robot army.  Read More

Small swarm robots, like these 'Droplets' developed at the University of Colorado Boulder,...

Imagine if you could harness the productivity of an insect colony – hundreds, if not thousands of miniature agents working together towards a larger goal – that's the future promised by swarm robotics. Potential applications, such as intelligent sensor networks, could have a wide-ranging impact on various industries. Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder) are developing the technology with prototypes about the size of a ping-pong ball, which they have called "droplets."  Read More

Georgia Tech's networked robots coordinate their movements to play music on a simulated pi...

Researchers at Georgia Tech's GRITS Lab are working with swarms of mini robots that communicate with one another to work effectively. The aim of the research is to create networks that can be controlled by inputting instructions to a single robot. Beginning with a leader, each robot communicates with its nearest neighbors until the instructions have been shared across the network. In an effort to create the most efficient "follow-the-leader" algorithms, the researchers are getting the robot swarm to play musical notes on a simulated piano.  Read More

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