Swarm robotics breakthrough brings pheromone communication to AI

Computer scientists at the University of Lincoln have invented a reliable, low-cost system which replicates in robots the pheromone-based communication behind insect swarms. Using off-the-shelf equipment including an LCD screen and a USB camera, the team has proposed what they call COS-phi, or Communication System via Pheromone. The artificial pheromone trails are traced visually onto the screen. As displayed in the video below, as soon as a bot picks up on the path, it is forced to follow the leader. Other swarm robotics research has looked at alternative resources such as alcohol, light and sound to simulate pheromones and swarm behaviour. However, these are complex and expensive methods compared to COS-phi, which simply combines the LCD screen and USB camera with an open-hardware micro-robot and an open source localisation system.…


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