The Swiss scientists, inspired by the team spirit of ants, who are able to carry large and heavy objects together, created miniature robots with a similar principle of operation. They are able to distribute responsibilities among themselves, make decisions on the situation and help each other in performing various tasks.
Engineers of the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne have developed tiny ant robots, each weighing about 10 grams. They look simple – three sheets and a pair of chips – but they use collective intelligence to solve problems of varying complexity. Mini-workers, called Tribots, can move in several modes and overcome small obstacles. They are equipped with infrared cameras and sensors, thanks to which other devices are oriented in space and "feel". Similar, however, are able to other robots.
Tribots feature – in their interaction. So, several robots can help the “fellow” overcome an obstacle that is too high for him or together move a heavy object from place to place. Working in a group, the devices independently assign themselves to one of three behaviors: intelligence officer, performer and leader. The first assesses the situation and fixes all the objects in the vicinity, the second immediately takes on the task, and the third coordinates the actions of the first two, like a brigadier.
“Like ants, our robots assign themselves to themselves“ roles ”and strictly follow them. However, as soon as the conditions of the “mission” change or one of the members of the “squad” is lost, Tribots can immediately change their behaviors according to the circumstances. Insects cannot do this anymore, ”said Jamie Paik, the leader of the research group.
The development of Swiss scientists in the future can be used for a variety of purposes. For example, for search and rescue operations, because robots “communicate” via GPS. They are fairly simple to manufacture, so creating large groups will not be a problem. Tribots quickly adapt to any conditions and can work even after losing part of a group, which makes them extremely effective.