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Self-Assembling Robots Using Flying Drones

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the air-support dept.

Robotics 33

mikejuk writes with an excerpt from I Programmer on a neat swarm of robots that use flying drones to build a map of their environment: "How can a swarm of robots get a global picture of its environment? Easy it simply sends up a drone. We are used to thinking of drones as being used for surveillance by humans operating on the ground, but what is good for humans is good for robots too. The drone can view the overall terrain and run simulations of what configurations of robots could best traverse the slopes. Once it has worked out how to assemble the robots into a single machine the drone has to communicate the plan to the swarm using a protocol based on the colored lights they all have. The ground robots adopt a random color and the drone selects the one it wants to communicate with by displaying the same color. They then repeat the process until only one robot has been selected i.e the drone follows the color changes of the selected robot. Of course if you don't like the idea of human drones flying over your head you may not be happy about robots getting in on the act as well..." Original paper

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Rendezvous with Rama (2)

TooTechy (191509) | about 2 years ago | (#41890023)

It sounds like Arthur C Clarke's work ;-)

Octo-spiders anyone?

Re:Rendezvous with Rama (1)

toygeek (473120) | about 2 years ago | (#41890191)

Now I'm going to have to re-read that book! I have it somewhere... or HAD it at least. Great book. Too bad the sequels were just aweful.

Re:Rendezvous with Rama (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41891079)

It sounds like a painfully inefficient method. Why not just have the swarm work out unique id's amongst themselves and PWM blink them via IR? That's like 5 cents worth of equipment per device and faster, and more predictable than process of elimination, right?

Coordinating drone issues a challenge that they all get, each blinks back a different code, drone issues commands to the right drones. 2 ID steps every time.

Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41890097)

Eventually Coordinated Robots Receiving Instructions from Outside Observer Robot just doesn't have the same flair I guess.

oblig (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#41890111)

something about our colourful robot overlords.

Re:oblig (2)

tnyquist83 (2720603) | about 2 years ago | (#41890131)

I, for one, welcome them.

Re:oblig (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#41890457)

They demand being called by their proper name!

Skynet, I will do your bidding and kill the unbelievers!

Re:oblig (1)

PuZZleDucK (2478702) | about 2 years ago | (#41901949)

Didn't you RTFA! ... Their proper name is: Blue-Red-Red-Yellow-Blue-Red-Yellow-Blue-Blue-Yellow-Red-Red-(this may take a while)-Blue-Blue-Red-Yellow-Blue-Blue-Yellow...

Amazing (3, Interesting)

tnyquist83 (2720603) | about 2 years ago | (#41890125)

So this is how it all begins... Although I did get a little chuckle when the first robot attempting the hill climb took a tumble, this is amazing and I can't wait to see this technology applied to the real world. The future really does seem to be an interesting place...

ending rocked (3, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 years ago | (#41890133)

that's a great use of tech, get it to push a big load of junk food to us on the couch. =)

Re:ending rocked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41890321)

that's a great use of tech, get it to push a big load of junk food to us on the couch. =)

Our Overlord is hungry, get to work bitches.

In Soviet Skynet.. (4, Funny)

luckymutt (996573) | about 2 years ago | (#41890179)

...ah, never mind.

Red Planet (1)

warewolfsmith (196722) | about 2 years ago | (#41890217)

Sounds like a plot for a B grade sci-fi staring Val Kilmer. What was it, a robot dog with a propeller head. Lets not forget the oxygen generating meth bugs. Ah the possibilities.

Re:Red Planet (1)

ChasmCoder (1818172) | about 2 years ago | (#41894381)

Hehe, you beat me to it!

As a Slashdotter, I must... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41890265)

Oppose all use of drones, because drones are bad, like nukes are bad.

Let's not have nuclear drones either!

Re:As a Slashdotter, I must... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41890475)

Nuclear drones are bad, mkay?

dude (1)

laserdog (2500192) | about 2 years ago | (#41890285)

thumps up if u think robots r cool

What? (1)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | about 2 years ago | (#41890525)

What drones are manned? Are they not ALL robotic? I thought removing human limitations is what made them useful.

Re:What? (1)

PTBarnum (233319) | about 2 years ago | (#41890621)

I don't see the word "manned" anywhere in the summary or article. However, a distinction can be drawn between remotely human controlled drones and fully autonomous drones. It's actually more of a continuum than a sharp divide, however.

Self assembling? (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41890529)

This could revolutionize Ikea!

Re:Self assembling? (2)

unix_core (943019) | about 2 years ago | (#41892115)

In soviet russia, IKEA furniture assemble.

Re:Self assembling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41894281)

In soviet russia, IKEA furniture assemble.

You did it wrong. Here's how it goes:

In Soviet Russia, IKEA furniture assembles YOU!

Robot Pron at 0:25 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41890669)

OMG! that one robot just porked the other one right there on camera!!!!

The Goo is here! (1)

Sussurros (2457406) | about 2 years ago | (#41890741)

The grey goo is here! Run for your lives!

I for one (3)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about 2 years ago | (#41890871)

welcome our new refreshment fetching overlords

Re:I for one (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 years ago | (#41891749)

I, for one, welcome my beer! Thanks, robot underling!

Re:I for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41894393)

I, for one, welcome my beer! Thanks, robot underling!

Yeah, beer is the true overlord. It takes over your brain functions.

Light communication ok.. but not exactly efficient (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41890913)

or they could have used wifi. Just saying. goes further than the camera can see the light of the led too. and behind walls. stuff.

Re:Light communication ok.. but not exactly effici (3, Informative)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 2 years ago | (#41891125)

This is to determine which one is positioned where.

Wifi doesn't help with that. Even GPS doesn't help here because we're talking about very small relative distances. But the challenge and commands might well happen over wifi, bluetooth, or as is popular in these kinds of things, point to multipoint with xbee modules.

Re:Light communication ok.. but not exactly effici (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41908037)

Funnily enough a solution occurs to me as well. I think we use it in the wetware realm. It is called 'naming'.

Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez (1)

DThorne (21879) | about 2 years ago | (#41892205)

This is basically that book, using lights instead of scent detection. I think the scent angle has more promise, doesn't need LOS, but then again you're at the mercy of air currents. Oh, and we're all doomed, m'kay?

It's a fun read, btw. While the characters are formulaic, Suarez is one of those rare authors that doesn't talk down to his audience when it comes to science.

We need a Fourth Law of Robotics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892313)

... and I mean soon!

Its not called skynet for nothing... (1)

3seas (184403) | about 2 years ago | (#41892515)

....Hey.... somebody had to say it.....again

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