BOBbots: Tiny Robots Perform Tasks as a Group

Instead of building one big machine that is super-complicated, maybe follow dear mother nature and build a bunch of not as complex smaller machines that can behave like a more complicated machine? That’s what engineers at Georgia Tech have are attempting with BOBbots. Here’s more from SlashGear:

One researcher on the project, Daniel Goldman, said that most researchers build increasingly complex and expensive robots to guarantee coordination. The goal of his team was to see what complex tasks can be accomplished with very simple robots. Researchers on the project were inspired by a theoretical model of particles moving around on a chessboard. The theoretical abstraction is known as a self-organizing particle system and was used to rigorously study a mathematical model of the tiny robots.

Researchers proved that the theoretical model undergoes a phase changes the magnetic interactions increase using ideas from probability theory, statistical physics, and stochastic algorithms. Researchers found BOBbots abruptly changed from dispersing to aggregating in large, compact clusters, similar to phase changes seen in everyday items like water and ice.

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