In these bot hookups, the machines meld their minds | Science News

SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS

Science News is a nonprofit.

Help us keep you informed.


News in Brief

In these bot hookups, the machines meld their minds

New composite robots take coordination to a new level

By
11:00am, September 12, 2017

MIND MELDERS  These Roomba-like robots latch onto each other with metal clasps and merge their “nervous systems” to become bigger, centrally controlled bots of various shapes and sizes.

View the video

Meet the first fleet of hive-minded robots.

These robots can latch onto one another and link up their individual “nervous systems” — the network of connections between their computer processors, cameras, wheels and other gadgetry — to create a single-minded machine. The composite robots, reported online September 12 in Nature Communications, pave the way for a new generation of machines that can change their shape on the fly.

In previous robots made up of many smaller machines, each robotic building block maintained control over its own nervous system. It was “a little bit like if we had a bunch of people joining together to do something,” explains study coauthor Marco Dorigo, an engineer at Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium. “They were trying to coordinate by exchanging messages with neighbors without

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content