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Robot army 'to help alleviate future floods'

RATE THIS! +36
Posted in Science on 14th Feb, 2014 12:27 AM by AlexMuller

Self-organising robots that mimic insect colonies have been shown off by computer scientists at Harvard University. The robot construction crews could in future be used to help alleviate flooding, building up walls of sandbags or as the construction crew of choice for future building on Mars.

 

 
Unlike human construction crews, there is no foreman or central control unit. Neither is there any need for the robots to communicate with each other. Dubbed Termes after the termites that build mounds of soil to act as lungs for their underground nests, the robots can build towers and pyramids out of blocks, even constructing their own staircases to reach higher levels.
 
The team behind the robots, from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, have taken their inspiration from termite colonies, which demonstrate swarm-like intelligence.
 
"They key inspiration we took from the termites is the idea that you can do something really complicated as a group without a supervisor, and secondly that you can do it without everybody discussing explicitly what's going on, but just by modifying the environment," said principal investigator Radhika Nagpal, professor of computer science at Harvard SEAS.

Tags: robotsroboticsfloodinsecthardware

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-14
+2
So much developments in robotics. Now one is not enough but a whole army- this looks promising and termites are just the right inspiration
3 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-14
+3
Yes, termites are interesting and rely on a concept known as stigmergy," a kind of communication in which insects observe each others' changes to the environment and act accordingly." Great concept for army robots Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-14
+1
Currently robotic systems rely either on a central controller that can see the whole process or on all of the robots being able to talk to each other frequently. This concept is in the middle - interesting Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-14
+2
Insects seem to be a big inspiration in robotic. Recently we had robots with insect brains, learning to navigate guided by external stimuli
3 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-14
+0
It is great to see good results is this area. Attempts to recreate how the brain works are nothing new. Computing principles underlying how the organ operates have inspired computer programmes for a long time and we see now more and more progress Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-14
+0
Brains are the most powerful computers known. Even this mimic of insects’ nervous systems is very impressive! Reply
Reply


 

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