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Robotics Hardware

Kilobots — Cheap Swarm Robots Out of Harvard 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the keep-wil-wheaton-away-from-these dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news of a research project at Harvard into controlling large swarms of small robots. This article describes what they call Kilobots. (Which, for clarity's sake, have nothing to do with killing. Yet.) Quoting: "They're fairly simple little robots about the size of a quarter that can move around on vibrating legs, blink their lights, and communicate with each other. On an individual basis, this isn't particularly impressive, but Kilobots aren't designed to be used on an individual basis. Costing a mere $14 each and buildable in about five minutes, you don't just get yourself one single Kilobot. Or ten. Or a hundred. They're designed to swarm in the thousands."
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Kilobots — Cheap Swarm Robots Out of Harvard

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  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SomePgmr (2021234) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @05:36PM (#36487048) Homepage
    Good question. Also, you'd have to find a well-cleaned aircraft hangar or something with enough perfectly flat, obstacle-free space for them to do anything. I don't think the idea is really about making these particular ones practical... but more about programming a whole swarm all at once and having them ready to go off and do whatever they're supposed to on their own. And managing that in a way that's cheap and effective. The article says they're looking to get up to a thousand of them and have them work out "self healing" and "collective trasport". These taks have been done individually, but baby steps towards a more impressive whole, I guess.
  • by mysidia (191772) * on Saturday June 18, 2011 @06:10PM (#36487186)

    1024 kilobots = 1 Megabot

    1024 Megabots = 1 Gigabot (aka 1 Decepticon)

    1024 Gigabots = 1 Terabot

    1024 Terabots = 1 Petabot (A sufficient number of bots to enslave humanity)

    1024 Petabots = 1 Exabot (A sufficient number of bots to enslave the the planets in our solar system)

    1024 Exabots = 1 Zettabot (A sufficient number of bots to enslave our galaxy)

    1024 Zettabots = 1 Yottabot (A sufficient number of bots to enslave 25% of the known universe)

    1024 Yottabots = A sufficient number of bots bots to replace all interesting objects in the known (and unknown) parts of the universe with Kilobot swarms.

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. -- John Muir

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