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Robotic Ensemble Control

September 10, 2013

What can you do with 12 RC robots all slaved to one joystick remote control? In this video we demonstrate we can steer all the robots to any desired final position. The controller exploits noise: each time the joystick tells the robots to turn, every robot turns a slightly different amount. We use these differences to slowly push the robots to goal positions. We then show a simulation with 120 robots and a more complicated goal pattern. This research is motivated by real-world challenges in micro and nano robotics, where often all the robots are steered by the same control signal.

Credit: Aaron Becker, James McLurkin, Rice University

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