Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Synchronizing Humanoid Robot Swarms

Humanoid robots are being taught to synchronize their movements by MIT researchers who are learning from insects and bacteria. The key - quorum sensing.


(Synchronized humanoid robots at MIT)

[R]oboticists have been searching for a better form of synchronisation that is more robust to the various trials and tribulations that befall robotic dancers. Today, Patrick Bechon and Jean-Jacques Slotine at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, reveal a new approach based on the biological phenomenon of quorum sensing.

Biologists have long puzzled over the ability of bacteria and social insects to sense not only the presence of compatriots but their number and to synchronise their behaviour.

It turns out that these creatures perform this synchronisation using a process called quorum sensing. This works by constantly releasing signalling molecules into the environment while at the same time measuring the local concentration of these molecules.

This concentration rises as more creatures join the local population and so is an effective measure of population density. When the concentration rises over some threshold level, it triggers a different behaviour such cell division, pathogen production and nest building.

Now Bechon and Slotine say a similar approach provides a robust way to synchronise humanoid robots. The ideal approach to synchronisation is for each robot to have access to every other robot's position. Instead, the quorum sensing approach gives, each robot access to a global variable such as the average position or average clock time. Each robot can also change this variable because it contributes to the average.

The multiple robot team in Isaac Asimov's 1944 story Catch That Rabbit were also able to synchronize their movements, taking their lead from the leader robot, Dave:

There was a marching formation now, and in their own dim body light, the rough-hewn walls of the mine tunnel swam past noiselessly, checkered with misty erratic blobs of shadow. They marched in unison, seven of them, with Dave at the head. They wheeled and turned in macabre simultaneity; and melted through changes of formation with the weird ease of chorus dancers in Lunar Bowl...

Via MIT's Technology Review.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/19/2012)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Athena Smart Security Guard Robot With Face Recognition
'You are who we say you are, Dr. Dakin,' Turner said.' - Greg Bear, 2003.

SpaceHopper Microgravity Robot Lands On Its Feet
'...a slender-legged tripod surmounted by a spherical body no larger than a football.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1972.

No Tips! Robotic Food Delivery In Phoenix
'...he rewired the delivery robot so that it would serve him midnight snacks.' Robert Heinlein, 1962.

Micro-Robots Are Smallest, Fully Functional
'With a whir, the Scarab shot from the concealing shadows of the corner where it had hidden itself.' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1936.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Live Stream With Meta-Ban Multimodal Smart Glasses
'...the bug-eyed, opaque gape of her True-Vu lenses.'

'Autonomous' Waymo Improves Driving With Remote Human Operators
'...some bored drone pusher in a remote driving centre has got your life... in his hands.'

Will Whales Be Our First Contact?
'He had piloted the Adastra to its first contact with the civilization of another solar system.'

Heinleinís Controlway - Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) Corridor In Michigan
'Well, that's us,' said Lazarus.

SliceIt! Why Not Teach Robots To Use Knives?
'One building now gushed forth smoke and another stench that was unmistakable.'

NYC/Dublin Portal Fails To Meet 'Guardian Of Forever' Standards
I am the Guardian of Forever.

FLOAT Levitating Train On The Moon ala Clarke
'The low-slung monorail car, straddling its single track, bored through the shadows on a slowly rising course.'

Singapore Writers Push Back On LLM Training
'...we've promised him a generous pension from the royalties.'

SpaceX Intros Extravehicular Activity Suit
'Provision had been made to meet the terrific cold which we knew would be encountered the moment we had passed beyond the atmosphere.'

Athena Smart Security Guard Robot With Face Recognition
'You are who we say you are, Dr. Dakin,' Turner said.'

The FLUTE Project - A Huge Liquid Mirror In Space
'It's area, and its consequent light-gathering capacity, was many times greater than any rigid mirror...'

Robot Preachers Found To Undermine Religious Commitment
'Tell me your torments,' the Padre said, in an elderly voice marked with compassion.

CyberCab - Tesla Renames The Robotaxi
'A cybercab dogged their heels...'

SpaceHopper Microgravity Robot Lands On Its Feet
'...a slender-legged tripod surmounted by a spherical body no larger than a football.'

Brin's 1990 Novel Earth Still Full Of Predictions
'... making the point that their likenesses, every move they made, were being transmitted.'

'Whisper Mode' ala Blue Thunder Researched At Bristol
'Forest Lawn.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.