Swarm robotics

Swarm robotics

Swarm robotics is a new approach to the coordination of multirobot systems which consist of large numbers of mostly simple physical robots. It is supposed that a desired collective behavior emerges from the interactions between the robots and interactions of robots with the environment. This approach emerged on the field of artificial swarm intelligence, as well as the biological studies of insects, ants and other fields in nature, where swarm behavior occurs.


The research of swarm robotics is to study the design of robots, their physical body and their controlling behaviors. It is inspired but not limited by the emergent behavior observed in social insects, called swarm intelligence. Relative simple individual rules can produce a large set of complex swarm behavior. A key-component is the communication between the members of the group that build a system of constant feedback. The swarm behavior involves constant change of individuals in cooperation with others, as well as the behavior of the whole group.

Unlike distributed robotic systems in general, swarm robotics emphasizes a "large" number of robots, and promotes scalability, for instance by using only local communication. That local communication for example can be achieved by wireless transmission systems, like radio frequency or infrared.

Video tracking is an essential tool for systematically studying swarm-behavior, even though other tracking methods are available. Recently Bristol robotics laboratory developed an ultrasonic position tracking system for swarm research purposes. Further research is needed to find methodologies that allow designing and reliably predicting of swarm behavior, while only the features of the individual swarm members are given.

Goals and Applications

Both miniaturization and cost are key-factors in swarm robotics. These are the constraints in building large groups of robotics; therefore the simplicity of the individual team member should be emphasized. This should motivate a swarm-intelligent approach to achieve meaningful behavior at swarm-level, instead of the individual level.

Potential applications for swarm robotics include tasks that demand for miniaturization (nanorobotics, microbotics), like distributed sensing tasks in micromachinery or the human body. On the other hand swarm robotics can be suited to tasks that demand cheap designs, for instance mining tasks or agricultural foraging tasks. Also some artists use swarm robotic techniques to realize new forms of interactive art.

= From centralized intelligence to swarm intelligence [cite book |last = Waldner |first = Jean-Baptiste |authorlink = |title = Nanocomputers and Swarm Intelligence |publisher = ISTE |place = London |date = 2007 | pages = p242-p248 |isbn = 1847040020] =

The basics of programming code of the future i.e. diffuse applications codes, are based on three main principles: First, the interaction between the codes of two objects becomes weaker as the number of objects increases. Non-synchronized communication is therefore the future of programs based on swarm intelligence that run parallel to one another. Secondly, the notion of micro-components is strongly connected to the spreading of the code that is controlled on a macroscopic level. Last, but not least, algorithms need to adapt to certain problems, i.e. they need to find methods to solve problems themselves. Future programs will develop according to the task they carry out within their environment. The concept uses mutant applications.

ee also

* Behavior-based robotics
* Nanorobotics
* Microbot
* Multi-agent systems
* Swarm intelligence
* Autonomous agents
* Physicomimetics


External links

* [http://www.swarm-robotics.org/ Swarm-Robotics.org]
* [http://www.idi.ntnu.no/grupper/ai/eval/fdagene/ Didabots] . Collective emergent robotics/swarm robotics example, with an on-line video of an experiment with four robots.
* [http://www.swarm-bots.org/ The Swarm-bots project ] .
* [http://www.swarmanoid.org/ The Swarmanoid project ] .
* [http://www.pherobot.com/ The Pheromone Robotics project ] .
* [http://swistrack.sourceforge.net/ Swistrack] - Tracking tool for swarm robotic experiments]
* [http://www.kenrinaldo.com/ The Autotelematic Spider Bots]
* [http://www.cs.nott.ac.uk/~jlb/#Robot%20Village SWARM of Merlin Miabot Robots]
* [http://www.i-swarm.org/ I-SWARM] - The European I-SWARM project. Goal is to build a massive swarm of up to 1000 3mm x 3mm x 3mm sized autonomous robots.
* [http://www.swarmrobot.org/ JASMINE] is an open soft- and hardware project derived from the I-SWARM project.
* [http://www.brl.ac.uk/ Bristol robotics laboratory] Research lab for both behavior based robotics and swarm robotics.

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