Kilobots: Part 1
Aug 23, 2011 video
In current robotics research there is a vast body of work on algorithms and control methods for groups of decentralized cooperating robots, called a swarm or collective. These algorithms are generally meant to control collectives of hundreds or even thousands of robots; however, for reasons of cost, time, or complexity, they are generally validated in simulation only, or on a group of a few 10s of robots. To address this issue, we present Kilobot, a robot designed to make testing collective algorithms on hundreds or thousands of robots accessible to robotics researchers. To enable the possibility of large Kilobot collectives where the number of robots is an order of magnitude larger than the largest that exist today, each robot is low cost and takes only a few minutes to assemble. Furthermore, the robot design allows a single user to easily oversee the operation of a large Kilobot collective, such as programming, powering on, and charging all robots, which would be dificult or impossible to do with many existing robotic systems. We demonstrate the capabilities of the Kilobot as a collective robot, using a 29 robot test collective to implement some popular swarm behaviors.
This video describes the features of each Kilobot robot, and how they can be controlled in a group.