Swarm Robotics and mROBerTO

Swarm robotics is an area of research within multi-robot systems, which consists of physical robots exhibiting intelligence and collective behaviors through local interactions directly between the robots. In this context, we designed and implemented a novel small (16×16 mm2) modular millirobot, mROBerTO (milli-ROBot-TOronto), in order to experiment with collective-behaviour algorithms. These robots have potential use in a wide range of applications, such as environment monitoring and surveillance, micro-assembly, medicine, and search and rescue.

The primary design objectives for our robot were to address the above mentioned issues: maximum (i) modularity, (ii) use of off-the-shelf components, and (iii) processing and sensing, as well as minimum footprint. mROBerTO comprises four modules: mainboard, locomotion, primary sensing, and secondary sensing.

Our modular design allows changes and upgrades to individual modules with little or no disruptions to other modules. Using mostly off-the-shelf components allows easy assembly, production, and maintenance. Small footprint allows more robots to operate in smaller workspaces. Improved processing and sensing capabilities is essential for implementing and testing complex behaviors and tasks.

Below is a brief video of mROBerTO’s workings:

Published in: Justin Yonghui Kim, Tyler Colaco, Zendai Kashino, Goldie Nejat, and Beno Benhabib. “mROBerTO: A Modular Millirobot for Swarm-Behavior Studies,” 2016 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), pp. 2109-2114.

Funding Source: This research is funded by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada.