In classical micro robotics, highly integrated and specialised robots have been developed in the past years which are able to perform micro manipulations controlled by a central high-level control system. On the other hand, technology is still far away from the first "artificial ant" which would integrate all capabilities of these simple, yet highly efficient swarm building insects. This has been the motivation of other research fields focusing on studying such swarm behaviour and transferring it to simulation or physical robot agents. Realisations of small robot groups of 10 to 20 robots are capable to mimic some aspects of such social insects, however, the employed robots are usually huge compared to their natural counterparts, and very limited in terms of perception, manipulation and co-operation capabilities.
The proposed project aims to take a leap forward in robotics research by combining experts in both fields, micro robotics and distributed multi agent systems. The project aims at technological advances to facilitate the mass-production of micro robots which can then be employed as a "real" swarm consisting of up to 1,000 robot clients. These clients will all be equipped with limited, pre-rational on-board intelligence. The swarm will consist of a huge number of heterogeneous robots, differing in the type of sensors, manipulators and computational power. Such a robot swarm is expected to perform a variety of applications, including micro assembly, biological, medical or cleaning tasks.
Building on a large expertise in micro robot technologies, the project addresses topics like polymer actuators, collective perception, using (instead of fighting) micro scaling effects, artificial and collective intelligence. All the competencies required are available within the consortium. The project results will enable humans to further understand the micro world, bridge the gap between micro and nano technologies and be the stepping-stone to a "real artificial ant".
Fields of science
- natural sciencesbiological scienceszoologyentomology
- engineering and technologyelectrical engineering, electronic engineering, information engineeringelectronic engineeringroboticsautonomous robots
- engineering and technologyelectrical engineering, electronic engineering, information engineeringelectronic engineeringroboticsswarm robotics
- engineering and technologyelectrical engineering, electronic engineering, information engineeringelectronic engineeringautomation and control systems
Funding SchemeIP - Integrated Project
S1 1WB Sheffield
751 05 Uppsala