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 Efficient time synchronization of sensor networks by means of time series analysis
24.01.2017 | Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt

nachricht Ultra-precise chip-scale sensor detects unprecedentedly small changes at the nanoscale
18.01.2017 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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 spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>