Disney Research's Javier Alonso-Mora and colleagues have built palm-sized glowing robots that can scurry along the ground at the command of someone using a tablet or a gesture-sensing camera.
Input is provided from a tablet running a drawing app or from a depth-sensing camera that discerns one's gazes. The robots can be directed by simply drawing with your finger on the tablet, or by lifting your arms up and down via the gesture sensor. A camera looks down at the platoon of dayglo pixelbots and feeds data on their formation into a computer. Commands are translated by an algorithm and transmitted to the robots. The swarm also is self-repairing and wirelessly self-organizing.
The researchers say the more immediate goal is to use the robots to make images and support interaction for entertainment purposes, but in the longer term the research could help coordinate swarms in industrial settings, and aid in search and rescue surveillance and in implementing collision avoidance for driverless car fleets.
From New Scientist
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