University of Colorado, Boulder researchers seek to build a swarm of Droplet robots and have turned to crowdfunding. They have been working on a robotic platform to study swarming behavior; their goals are to test swarming algorithms on a large scale, bring Droplets into college classrooms, use Droplets to teach K-12 science, and provide Droplets for artistic use. John Klingner, PhD candidate, computer science, said “We are ready to scale up” and they would now like to buy parts and pay for 1,000 robots to be assembled. Droplets are an experimental research and educational platform, for large-scale swarming research, using an MIT License
A Droplet is a small mobile robot. The platform features include moving and communicating omnidirectionally. The platform has three components, the hardware, the embedded software and the software simulation environment. The required infrastructure includes a powered floor. The hardware component includes the actual robot and the test bed/floor that experiments are run on. The robots are Ping-Pong ball sized devices. They have RGB color and IR sensing, actuation using vibration motors and communication, using analog/digital IR sensors.
Read more at: Phys.org