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August 9, 2013

Kilobots Are Coming (Image 1)

Created by computer scientists and engineers from the Self-Organizing Systems Research (SEAS) Group at Harvard University, these quarter-sized, bug-like Kilobots can interact and coordinate their own behavior as a team, a "skill" that will make it easier for researchers to test collective algorithms on hundreds or even thousands of tiny robots.

In a Harvard Technical Report, SEAS researchers discussed how in one demonstration, 25 Kilobots--which move about on three, toothpick-like legs--collectively displayed swarming behaviors such as foraging, formation control and synchronization. The researchers got their inspiration from nature, modeling the robots behavior after social insects like ants and bees that collectively and efficiently forage for food in large environments, transport large objects and coordinate nest building.

Once they are activated, the machines are fully automated and require no human control. Kilobots will be available to researchers and robotics enthusiasts alike thanks to a licensing deal with K-Team Corporation, a Swiss manufacturer of high-quality, mobile robots. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation and the Wyss Institute.

To read more about this research, see the Harvard University press release, Kilobots are leaving the nest. (Date of Image: November 2011) [See related image Here.]

Credit: Michael Rubenstein, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

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