Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

‘Honeybee’ robots replicate swarm behaviour

18.09.2014

Computer scientists have created a low-cost, autonomous micro-robot which in large numbers can replicate the behaviour of swarming honeybees

Colias - named after a genus of butterfly - is an open-platform system that can be used to investigate collective behaviours and be applied to swarm applications.

Robotic swarms that take inspiration from nature have become a topic of fascination for robotics researchers, whose aim is to study the autonomous behaviour of large numbers of simple robots in order to find technological solutions to common complex tasks.

Due to the hardware complexities and cost of creating robot hardware platforms, current research in swarm robotics is mostly performed by simulation software. However, the simulation of large numbers of these robots in robotic swarm software applications is often inaccurate due to the poor modelling of external conditions.

Colias was created by a team of scientists led by the University of Lincoln, UK, with Tsinghua University in China. It has been proven to be feasible as an autonomous platform - effectively replicating a honeybee swarm. Its small size (4cm diameter) and fast motion (35cm/s) means it can be used in fast-paced swarm scenarios over large areas.

In comparison to other mobile robots which are utilized in swarm robotic research, Colias is a low-cost platform, costing around £25, making the replication of swarm behaviour in large numbers of robots more feasible and economical for researchers.

Farshad Arvin, from the School of Computer Science, University of Lincoln, was part of the research team which developed Colias.

He said: “The platform must be able to imitate swarm behaviours found in nature, such as insects, birds and fish. Colias has been designed as a complete platform with supporting software development tools for robotics education and research. This concept allows for the coordination of simple physical robots in order to cooperatively perform tasks. The decentralised control of robotic swarms can be achieved by providing well-defined interaction rules for each individual robot. Colias has been used in a bio-inspired scenario, showing that it is extremely responsive to being used to investigate collective behaviours. Our aim was to imitate the bio-inspired mechanisms of swarm robots and to enable all research groups, even with limited funding, to perform such research with real robots.”

Long-range infrared proximity sensors allow the robot to communicate with its direct neighbours at a range of 0.5cm to 2m. A combination of three short-range sensors and an independent processor enables the individual robots to detect obstacles.

A similar but more complex mechanism has been found in locust vision, where a specific neuron called the ‘lobula giant movement detector’ reacts to objects approaching the insects’ eyes.

Co-author Professor Shigang Yue, also from Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, previously created a computerised system which supports the autonomous navigation of mobile robots based on the locust’s unique visual system.

This earlier research, published in the International Journal of Advanced Mechatronic Systems (2013), could provide the blueprint for the development of highly accurate vehicle collision sensors, surveillance technology and even aid video game programming.

The next step for the Colias research team is to work on an extension of the vision module using a faster computer processor to implement bio-inspired vision mechanisms.

Full details of their research have been published in the International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems.

The work is supported by the European Union’s FP7 project EYE2E, which aims to build international capacity and cooperation in the field of biologically inspired visual neural systems.

A video showing the swarming behaviour of Colias robots can be found at: http://youtu.be/xEvWU9FexGU

Full bibliographic informationFarshad Arvin, John Murray, Chun Zang, Shigang Yue ‘Colias: An autonomous micro robot for swarm robotic applications’ International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems
DOI: 10.5772/58730http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs-wm/47293.pdf

Marie Daniels | AlphaGalileo
Further information:
http://www.lincoln.ac.uk

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems
11.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zuverlässigkeit und Mikrointegration IZM

nachricht Rules for superconductivity mirrored in 'excitonic insulator'
08.12.2017 | Rice University

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Midwife and signpost for photons

11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How do megacities impact coastal seas? Searching for evidence in Chinese marginal seas

11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems

11.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>