Most robots perform tasks alone,but researchers from the institutions of Massachusetts, Harvard, Columbia and Cornell presented the so-called "robot-particles", which are able to act only in a team. Each of the tiny robots is a round mechanism that is able to connect with its own kind using magnets. Acting together, they can form a "swarm" that takes a variety of forms, depending on the task. For example, robots can move to a light source and push objects, without any problems passing through any aisles.
The only movement that can make"Particles" - is to compress and unclench in diameter from 15 to 23 centimeters. To do this, they use the built-in motor, batteries and a microcontroller, which is responsible for the frequency of movements. To feel the light source, each robot is equipped with a light sensor, and to communicate with the operator - a device for receiving commands.
One robot alone is almost useless, butonce they join the group, they can move and move objects. A group can consist of an infinite number of devices and have any shape. For example, a cluster may look arcuate and push an object, or line up to go through a narrow passage. Robots do not rely on each other directly, so one broken "particle" does not interfere with the movement and work of the whole group.
The performance of a group of 24 robots wasproved during the experiment, where they successfully moved to the light source and pushed the subject. Computer modeling has shown that a group of 10,000 robots has the same efficiency - it continues to work, even if 20% of devices have failed.
In the future, the researchers intend to simplifythe design of robots and reduce their size. In this way, they want to create groups of millions of “particles” who can perform much more complex actions than they do now.
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