Saturday, April 30, 2011

One signal herds microbot swarm

Igor Paprotny / Thayer School of Engineering

Researchers have managed to control a swarm of microbots with a single signal. The breakthrough may eventually lead to robots that are able to build tissues inside the human body.

With the application of a single electrical signal, researchers can control swarms of tiny robots to assemble themselves into structures.
"We are controlling these robots kind of like remote controlled cars," Igor Paprotny, a postdoctoral scientist at the University of California at Berkeley who is co-leading the research effort, told me Friday.
Instead of one controller transmitting a signal to steer one car, the signal controls several cars at once, sending each in a slightly different direction.
This is accomplished by building each microbot so that they behave in a different way when they get the signal. Paprotny said to think of the robots as individual pieces of a puzzle. When controlled by the global the signal, they come together to build and solve the puzzle. Article published here

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