Termes, Termite-like Robots that can build complex Structures
Just like Human being, nature has given amazing skills to other beings like ants. You must have been amazed how ants and termites construct their own castles, it has always got human being thinking. They work tirelessly towards their goal and individually, and that has inspired a group of scientists and engineers at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University to build an autonomous robots which can construct just like termites.
The project is known as Termes, a result of four-year project. While human workers are together directed towards single goal, these termes robots will be a group of individual robot working towards their own individual goals and are capable of building complex structures like towers and pyramids without any need of supervision.
The termes robots basically operate on same principle like ants which leave trails for each other. The phenomenon that the termites working is known as stigmergy, means termites just don’t care about what other termites do or if any other robot break down but developments and changes in the environment around them. The robots will be programmed with blueprints by engineers to work individually and they will take care of the rest.
At present, these robots are not capable of doing such tricky job as they are still in a miniature form like a toy car but according to the team behind the project, they can easily be scaled up or down based on construction project needs and can be deployed in any harsh environment where human being find difficulties. The robots utilizes four simple types of sensors and three actuators to operate.
“The key inspiration we took from termites is the idea that you can do something really complicated as a group, without a supervisor, and secondly that you can do it without everybody discussing explicitly what’s going on, but just by modifying the environment,” said principal investigator Radhika Nagpal, Fred Kavli Professor of Computer Science at Harvard SEAS.
This innovation can really change the way we construct now and there may come a time when no more human being are needed in the construction field. Take a look at the video and feel free to comment and share.