Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Scent of a Robot

According to this Sydney Morning Herald article, Malibu, California based research consortium HRL Laboratories is working on a pherobot.
The robot swarm will communicate by each robot laying a trail of an artificial pheromone to attract other robots when they find prey. Very much like ants.

Robot swarms must learn to bee hive
By Celeste Biever

When a pherobot finds an object of interest, it emits a series of artificial pheromones. David Payton and colleagues at HRL Research Labs in Malibu, California, avoid the need for centralised control by using virtual pheromones.
Each of Mr Payton's pherobots is a wheeled cylinder about seven centimetres tall, 11 centimetres in diameter, and equipped with a transceiver that beams out and receives infra-red light. A PDA and several attached chips process the signals and steer each pherobot.
When a pherobot finds something of interest, it emits artificial pheromones that code for a number. Its nearest neighbours pick up the signal, increase the number by one, then re-transmit it to the nearest bots while also saving the number. This continues until a trail of bots has formed with numbers increasing incrementally the further they are from the source. It means other bots can follow this trail simply by interrogating each bot they meet.

"It looks cool, but ultimately we need to expand into 3D space," Mr Payton says. "We haven't found the killer application yet."

Robot swarms must learn to bee hive - Next - Technology -

more on robot swarms:

More Money for Swarms

Money for Swarms


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