Pheromone Robotics

All about Pheromone Robots and Robot Swarms


Gradient Following
Here is a short video clip of a robot swarm performing one of the more fundamental robot behaviors we call gradient following. Click here for a longer version with more explanation.

Cooperative Sensing
At various times, we need several different behaviors to interact simultaneously.  A good example of this sort of compound behavior is seen in this cooperative sensing scenario. Click here for a longer version with more explanation.

Augmented Reality Interface
The primary user interface to our pherobot swarm is a see-through augmented reality head-mounted display (HMD).  Looking through this display, the user can view gradient arrows superimposed over each robot.  The arrows are produced by a camera mounted on the HMD that detects and tracks blinking beacons on top of each robot.  The beacons are decoded and displayed as directional arrows.  Click here for the video.

Pheromone Remote
A remote control can change behavior of a single robot or of the entire robot swarm.  The remote transmits a virtual pheromone signal (a coded infrared signal) that is either highly directional or is omni-directional.  The directional beam triggers behaviors in individual robots only.  The omni-directional beam is propagated by the recipients to assure that the entire swarm receives the command.  Click here to see a simple demonstration of the remote being used to command each robot to blink a light.

Dispersal and Hiding
Another compound pherobot behavior is to disperse and then hide.  Hiding requries that robots find walls and park next to them.  Robots that are in the middle of a room must first detect a "wall" pheromone from those that are already near walls.  As they follow this pheromone toward a wall, they then must switch into a "park" behavior once they see the wall themselves.  Click here for the video.

Robot Parking
One of the base behaviors for robot dispersal and hiding is the "park" behavior.  This behavior looks for a place near a wall that is preferably not too close to any other robots.  Click here for the video.

Pheromone Propagation Simulation
Here is one of our earliest simulations showing dispersal of a robot swarm and then propagation of a pheromone gradient once a target is detected.  Click here for the video.

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