Roboticist-in-residence James McLurkin unveiled his Robot Swarm at NYC's Museum of Mathematics this week to a crowd of enthusiasts who apparently felt safe enough in their humanity to brave the onslaught.
The presentation included an overview on the concept of group behaviors in robotics, along with some of the underlying math behind his swarm.
A section of the Museum of Math's lower-level floor has embedded sensors which detect objects above them. When there's nothing on-hand, it's set to cycle through a type of screen-saver mode.
The sensors detect the presence of an object and light up in response.
So what if the rules say not to touch the floor, it's too tempting.
Attendees experiment with the sensor-laden floor before the Swarm Math presentation.
The Museum of Mathematics Robot Swarm installation will be completed by the end of 2014. Here's a preview of what to expect.
This egg-like chassis is what the bots will be sporting when the Robot Swarm installation is completed.
The robots take to the floor, with sensors reacting to their position and lines indicating the location of their neighbors.
The robots work together as a group, defining their locations based on neighboring bots and receiving information via a color-coded hierarchy. Insects like ants and bees provide a basis for the concept used in the swarm, with members arriving at a consensus for movement and coordination.
The formation begins to get organized. Robots exchange data with one another in order to find their way around and to feed data back to the group from their individual senors.
Up close and personal with robot swarm member #83.
When instructed, the robots will seek out their color-coded partners and huddle in groups, awaiting further instructions.
The sensor-laden floor reacts to the groups and lines are shown between green, red and blue bots. The robots decide which way to face by using infrared sensors and seeking out neighboring robots.
Robot team blue huddles together.
The Museum of Mathematics roboticist-in-residence and Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Rice University James McLurkin oversees the swarm.
You'll be able to see the the full exhibition for yourself later in the year.