Saturday, June 11, 2011

Harvard’s $14 Swarm-bot Design

Wow these are cool... Gotta get some swarm bots!

starMake: Online
June 10, 2011 12:10 PM
by Sean Michael Ragan

Harvard's $14 Swarm-bot Design

If you're interested in studying real-world robot swarms, the unit cost is everything. Reportedly, most commercial swarm bots cost $100 or more, so this innovative design from Michael Rubenstein, Nicholas Hoff, and Radhika Nagpal of the Harvard's Self Organizing Systems Research Group represents an order-of-magnitude savings over existing platforms. They call it "Kilobot," and besides low cost, it is designed for rapid assembly (<5 min/unit) and group charging using plates that engage the top and bottom of the entire swarm at once. From their technical report (PDF):

While these robots are low-cost, they still have abilities similar to other collective robots. These abilities include: differential drive locomotion, on-board computation power, neighbor-to-neighbor communication, and neighbor-toneighbor distance sensing. These abilities are achieved at low cost mainly through the use of vibration based locomotion and a simple range only sensor.

The embedded video shows swarms of up to 29 Kilobots (about $410 dollars altogether) engaged in "foraging" and "follow-the-leader" behaviors. The group plans to produce a 1024-bot swarm in the near future. [via Hack a Day]

Electronics Robotics Science swarm

Dr. Art Trembanis
109 Penny Hall
Department of Geological Sciences
The College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment
University of Delaware
Newark DE 19716

"Education is not the filling of a pot, but the lighting of a fire." -W. B. Yeats

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