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Kilobots Are Leaving the Nest

By Harvard ­niversity

November 28, 2011

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Harvard University computer scientists and engineers have developed technology designed to test collective algorithms on hundreds or even thousands of tiny robots called Kilobots.

A potential high-value application for future multi-robot systems is the development of sophisticated algorithms that can coordinate the actions of tens to thousands of robots. The quarter-sized, insect-like devices scuttle around on three toothpick-like legs, interacting and coordinating their own behavior as a team. The machines are fully autonomous once they are deployed, indicating that there is no need for a human to control their actions.

The Kilobots were created by members of the Self-Organizing Systems Research Group led by Harvard professor Radhika Nagpal.

Swarms of 1,000 bots resemble social insects such as ants and bees that can efficiently search for and find food sources in large and complex environments, collectively transport large objects, and coordinate the building of nests and other structures. Kilobots are designed to provide scientists with a physical testbed for advancing the understanding of collective behavior and realizing its potential to deliver solutions for a wide range of challenges.

From Harvard University
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