Camera and blue lights to coordinate robot fish

Creating swarms of drones or robots is already complicated. But underwater, even more, because due to the environment, radio transmissions and GPS should not depend on guide machines and allow them to position themselves. However, three researchers from Harvard University (United States), experts in engineering and biomimicry, managed to encase a 90-cm deep pool, seven robot-fish.

The machines, whose motif is inspired by surgeonfish, were not only able to swim in schools but also to gather together in a circle and circulate under certain criteria before swimming. All without Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and geolocation. The team relied on cameras mounted in robots to position themselves according to the behavior of their followers. A reproduction is, in essence, what happens in nature. The project is detailed in an article published in Science robotics For the month of January 2021.

Called the blueboat, these robots each have four wings and two 195 ° 3D cameras, both placed in the eye space (only 5 ° blind spot behind the robot at the tail level). He attributes his name (blue robot) to three blue LEDs attached to his back and abdomen. Underwater, some cameras capture the light of other blueboats. The size of the light in the robot’s field of view indicates how far the LEDs are, and since every machine has more than one, an on-board algorithm can calculate their angular position.

No leader robot

A blueboat can “see” up to 5 m around it. However, there are still some limitations. Except for a blind angle of 5 °, a robot cannot detect one for example that would be masked by a third.

READ  The Christmas Star will illuminate the Devon sky for the first time in 800 years

In this system, there is no leading robot or centralized control of any kind. Everything happens locally and on the basis of interrelated behavior. Researchers have demonstrated the efficiency of this system in any case, but the robot also has extreme maneuverability, capable of spinning at speeds as low as 150 mm per second and 75 mm per second or even a half. There is minimal current to operate. 5 seconds. As the demonstration video shows, when a robot is added to a bench that is already floating in the pool, it immediately synchronizes with the group.

In this system, there is no leading robot or centralized control of any kind. Everything happens locally and on the basis of interrelated behavior. Researchers have demonstrated the efficiency of this system in any case, but the robot also has extreme maneuverability, capable of spinning at speeds as low as 150 mm per second and 75 mm per second or even a half. There is minimal current to operate. 5 seconds. As the demonstration video shows, when a robot is added to a bench that is already floating in the pool, it immediately synchronizes with the group.

It is possible to program the robot’s swarms to complete a mission without outside control

In addition to bench travel, the researchers were also successful in developing a so-called search maneuver. A red light shines in one corner of the pond and the fish is given it (forever) space. Via Their cameras) and gather there. After being successful it is first opposed to a steady state, while its blue LED starts to glow. This is a signal that alerts other robots, who stop their “discovery” and converge on the blue glow.

READ  Glistening 'Gel-Like' Compound on Much Side of The Moon Eventually Recognized

Therefore the experiment was successful in combining multiple operations (movement, combination, detection) into one. And the project goes to show that without external control, it is possible to program swarms of robots to complete missions without remote control. For example investigation, observation and environmental monitoring missions.

You May Also Like

About the Author: Abbott Hopkins

Analyst. Amateur problem solver. Wannabe internet expert. Coffee geek. Tv guru. Award-winning communicator. Food nerd.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *