Swarm Robot Project Overview

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The Swarm Robot Project is an ongoing research project in the Laboratory for Intelligent Mechanical Systems led by Drs. Kevin Lynch and Randy Freeman. The project has had several phases throughout its years, starting with initial research in decentralized motion control, as well as in the application of semi-autonomous robots. In addition to these topics, the swarm robot project has applied research to swarm theory and consensus estimation, with numerous applications for environmental sensing. Most recently, the project has focused on adapting several aspects of the robots and related support structure from its original phase to the new direction of research. This has been done through updating the physical e-puck hardware, altering the e-puck motion control code and the vision system code, and physically setting up a new arena. The project has drawn on work done in several fields, such as theoretical research done to develop an efficient consensus estimator for the robots, writing simulation programs to test the consensus theory, as well as continuing development of an effective indoor machine/computer vision system to locate and track the robots through their formation moves, to name some of the work done.

Physically the Swarm Robot Project uses a group of eight (8) e-puck robots equipped with Xbee radios, an overhanging home-made computer vision system made, and a controlling computer with Xbee radio. Add-on's to this swarm robot system differ to from project to project, but include both hardware and software additions. Specific information about different hardware and software options can be found in each projects respective wiki entry.

List of all swarm related pages: SwarmRobotProject

Different Projects

Through the existence of the Swarm Robot Project, there have been several phases of work done, with each phase focused on a different aspect of the project. The initial phase of the project, the Swarm Consensus Estimation (The Michael Hwang) Project, drew on developing an effect consensus estimation algorithm in a decentralized robot network. The next phase, the RGB Swarm Project, focused on furthering the initial research to develop an autonomous robot network capable of received environmental information, using consensus estimation, to develop a picture of the local environment.

RGB Swarm Project (Current)

Main article: RGB Swarm Robot Project Documentation

The RGB swarm robot project is the second phase of the swarm experiment. With the addition of color sensors, a projector, and a light blocking tent, the RGB swarm robot project moves beyond the first phase and looks to link data sensing and swarm consensus theory. Currently the project uses the same epucks and xbee radios, but has implemented new vision and epuck code. Many of the operating procedures are similar and can be found in the main article linked to above.

Swarm Consensus Estimation Project (Old)

Main article: Swarm Robot Project Documentation

The Swarm Consensus Estimation Project was the first phase of the Swarm Robot Project. The main focus of this project was to test swarm theory and consensus estimation theory, both of which are the basis for research in the Swarm Robot Project. This project marked the first implementation of e-pucks, computer vision system, and consensus estimation software for the e-pucks. In addition to the main project, there were several projects related to providing additional data for analysis, such as a robot simulator program for Matlab. Much of the original code, robot and circuit design, theory, and operating procedures from the Swarm Consensus Estimation Project would be adopted in the RGB Swarm Project.

Related Links

These are other, separate, projects that are used by the Swarm Project or projects to which the Swarm Project has contributed.