The main scientific objective of the Swarm-bots project is to study a novel approach
to the design and implementation of self-organising and self-assembling artefacts. This novel approach finds its theoretical roots
in recent studies in swarm intelligence, that is, in studies of the self-organising and self-assembling capabilities shown by
social insects and other animal societies.
The main tangible objective of the project is the demonstration of the approach by means of the construction of at least
one of such artefact. We intend to construct a swarm-bot. That is, an artefact composed of a number of
simpler, insect-like, robots(s-bots), built out of relatively cheap components, capable of self-assembling
and self-organising to adapt to its environment.
The work will see the co-ordinated interplay of four main activities:
The general guidelines for designing the hardware, the simulator and the control mechanisms are jointly defined at the project
start by the project participants, in order to ensure consistency across all levels, as decisions at one level impose constrains
on what can be done at another level. The guidelines specify the appropriate hardware for s-bots, the
characteristic required to the simulator (what the simulator should simulate) and the control mechanisms (selecting the
appropriate space of distributed, swarm intelligence-based control mechanisms and the appropriate learning and
Based on such specifications, prototypes will be developed, evaluated and documented for all three
components: s-bots (hardware), simulation (software), and swarm-intelligence-based control mechanisms
The control mechanisms will be tested on both the simulator and the hardware implementations. Final versions of all the
three components will be developed and fine-tuned using input and feedback from the other two components. Integrated
prototype and demonstrator will be then developed. The main deliverable will be a set of hardware s-bots that can
self assemble into a shape-changing swarm-bot to accomplish a small number of tasks. Tasks considered will be
dynamic shape formation and shape changing and navigation on rough terrain. In both cases, will be considered situations in
which a single s-bot cannot accomplish the task and the cooperative effort performed by the s-bots
aggregated in a swarm-bot is necessary.
The expected result is a novel swarm intelligence-based method for the design and the implementation of self assembling and self-organising artefacts. Milestones will be prototypes of hardware, simulator, and control of swarm-bots.
This project aims to contribute to the economic development of the Community by providing a new approach to the design, construction and control of robotic systems.
The objective of the SWARM-BOTS project is to study a novel approach to the design, hardware implementation, test and use of self-assembling, self-organising, metamorphic robotic systems called swarm-bots. This novel approach finds its theoretical roots in recent studies in swarm intelligence, that is, in studies of the self-organising and self-assembling capabilities shown by social insects and other animal societies.
By the end of the project a demonstration of the proposed approach will be made by means of the physical construction of at least one swarm-bot, that is, a self-assembling and self-organising robot composed of a number (30-35) of smaller devices, called s-bots.
Because currently no such artifacts exists, a first step in measuring success is the realisation of a working swarm-bot. In particular, we intend to test the feasibility of the integration of swarm intelligence, reinforcement learning and evolutionary computation paradigms for the implementation of self-assembling and self-organising metamorphic robots by constructing a swarm-bot prototype. A major measurable goal will therefore be the (hardware) construction of such a prototype. The project will be considered successful if a working prototype capable of on-line self-organisation can be demonstrated at the end of the project. The working prototype will be able to achieve the following three sets of objectives:
The attainment of these objectives will be assessed through demonstrations and measurements. Measurements of goal attainment will be done using the following metrics:
The results achieved during the course of the project are detailed in the Control Section. Here we present the main scenario we tackled.
An application in which self-organisation and self-assembling can be useful is the classical Search & Rescue in complex environments. A swarm of up to 35 s-bots must transport a heavy object from its initial to a goal location. On the right side can be seen the yellow goal location; on the left side the grey object to be transported, surrounded by s-bots. There are several possible paths from the initial to the goal location and these paths may have different lengths and may require avoiding obstacles and holes. The weight of the object is such that its transportation requires the coordinate effort of at least n s-bots, where n>1 is a parameter. The overall scenario can be split into two main tasks: finding an object or a goal location, and performing cooperative transport. This is detailed in the following.
|Swarm-bots project started
on October 1,2001
|The project terminated
on March 31, 2005.
Sat, 21 Aug 2010 12:46:15 -0500