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Robots with intelligence inspired by animals

Posted on: Feb, 21st 2012
Swarm robots, Kilobot
The previous post was about robots with body inspired by animals, so that in this I'm going to talk about robots with intelligence inspired in the nature. This are a lot of more interesting, because its programming, unlike to the robots of the prior post, is more related with the artificial intelligence than with the physics.

termite nest

This kind of robots is inspired in colonies of insects as the ants, the bees or the termites that have behaviours that needs a great intelligences. For instance, the ants, they can create big and complex antbirds, they build bridges, boats and always they find the shortest and fastest path to the meal. All of this without that a solitary ant can do anything of this by itself, and without having a boss ant that gives commands and distributes the work. How can achieve do this? The answer is using simple rules, for instance, follow the path that they smell more pheromones from their mates (that really is the road most traveled), so when each ant applies this simple rule, emerge a complex behaviour, that is the capacity of find the shortest path and change the route if it's cut.

From the studio of these behaviours emerges a branch of the artificial intelligence called swarm intelligence, it studies the the swarm algorithms or ant algorithms. These algorithms have a lot of applications, as for instance find a solution relatively fast to the travelling salesman problem to do route optimization. Also is applicable to other problems as the timetabling, resources allocation, etc. But here I'm going to talk about its applications for the realization of robots. These robots, like the ants, achieve do complex tasks from simple algorithms. These simple algorithms can be a copy of the nature, can be invented or even be learned by the own robots. In the following videos we can see some interesting examples:

Kilobot:

These little robots show some basic task of swarm intelligence. In the first demostration the red robot simulates be the antbird and the green the food. The black robots find the path to the meal and simulate take it to the antbird. In the second, the green robot takes the rol of the leader and the rest follow it (is easy deduce the rule that they use watching the video). After, the robots disperse following the rule "I move if another robot is close to me". At last, an example of syncronization in that one robot makes a comunication, forward the message to its adyacent fellows:

Wath on Youtube

Swarmanoid:

In this video we can see a swarm formed by three kinds of robots, which achieve take a book from a bookcase:

Wath on Youtube

In this other, a swarm of robots realize a rescue test of a girl:

Wath on Youtube

There are other kind of robots that also use the swarm intelligence, the modular robots, made of independent blocks capable of join by itself, with the goal of form complex structures that allow them walk and avoid obstacles:

Wath on Youtube

robot of the project Leurre

Also is interesting the application of the cockroach robot of the project called Leurre, in which after three years studying these "nice" animals, they have achieved build a robot that imitates their rules and the pheromones that they emits, so it can infiltrate in the colony, become the leader and take them to a mortal trap.

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