Friday, May 11, 2018
Swarms of insects or populations of microbes can produce surprisingly coordinated phenomena, even though each individual operates with very simple rules. Hamid Kellay of the University of Bordeaux in France and his colleagues have demonstrated similar behavior in roach-like, battery-powered robots that skitter around randomly inside a corral. Previous researchers have also observed self-propelled swarmers in enclosed regions, but Kellay's team documented new forms of collective motion using movable corrals. The ultimate aim of this body of research is to produce small, simple robots that team up for a variety of tasks, such as self-assembly or exploration.