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Swarming Robots Could Be the Servants of the Future


A swarm of small humanoid robots.

Researchers trained a swarm of robots to perform simple fetching and carrying tasks by gathering around an object and working together.

Credit: Photos.com

The Sheffield Center for Robotics is involved in a robot swarms project that could benefit the medical field, industry, and the military. Researchers are working to program a group of 40 robots.

In a demonstration, the swarm carried out simple fetching and carrying tasks by gathering around an object and working together to push it across a surface. The robots also can form a single cluster after being scattered across a room, and organize themselves by order of priority.
 

University of Sheffield researchers developed relatively simple programming to control the robots. For example, when asked to group together, each robot only needs to work out if there is another robot in front of it.

The key is to limit the amount of information needed to perform tasks, says Roderich Gross from Sheffield's Natural Robotics Lab. "That's important because it means the robot may not need any memory, and possibly not even a processing unit, so this technology could work for nanoscale robots, for example in medical applications," Gross notes.

From University of Sheffield
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