Control a robot swarm with one finger

Science Crush

Material provided by Georgia Institute of Technology, Jason Maderer

Using a smart tablet and a red beam of light, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have created a system that allows people to control a fleet of robots with the swipe of a finger. A person taps the tablet to control where the beam of light appears on a floor. The swarm robots then roll toward the illumination, constantly communicating with each other and deciding how to evenly cover the lit area. When the person swipes the tablet to drag the light across the floor, the robots follow. If the operator puts two fingers in different locations on the tablet, the machines will split into teams and repeat the process.

The new Georgia Tech algorithm that fuels this system demonstrates the potential of easily controlling large teams of robots, which is relevant in manufacturing, agriculture and disaster areas.

A human operator can touch the screen in multiple locations to control the light and the robots. Credit: Georgia Tech A human…

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