Termites created robots capable of building houses without superintendent





Insects can not think, however, some of them are able to create complex structures and carry out complex expedition of search and foraging, while acting in concert without a central leadership. That is why recent Stanford grad scientists sent ants on the International Space Station – they want to figure out how to influence the conditions of weightlessness on the collective behavior of insects. At Harvard, in turn, eyeing the termites that can build tall houses generations of scrap materials. U.S. scientists recently presented to the world team robot builders sized iPad, capable of operating without a foreman.

The first thing we can learn from termites – it collectively build complex engineering structures, not having a boss over. Second – we can do it without any discussion of actions by simply changing the environment – says lead researcher Radhika Nagpal of Harvard University (USA).

Robots, which dubbed TERMES (in honor of their biological brothers) are able to create any structure of homogeneous foam building blocks. Once these machines will be used for the construction of dams of sandbags on the floods, as well as the construction of colonies on other planets, writes resource GigaOM.

Each robot is an independent working unit. He knows how to look like the final product, but does not know what his “colleagues”. Instead, he compares what is, with what should be, and continues to work blindly relying on special algorithms that tell him where to put the next brick. TERMES constantly monitoring the situation on site. For example, the robot picks up a fallen building materials and puts them in their place. If suddenly it happens that takes the place of one another robot, the first give way and will continue to work elsewhere. Another advantage is the simple TERMES scalability. Can work as one, and 50 robots.


To get the most reliable and simplified system, robots and building blocks were designed together. This not only helps improve the system stability, but also significantly reduce the load on the computing device. Our task – to not only reduce the number of small errors, but also to detect and fix them before they destroy the entire system – says co-development Kirstin Petersen.

Robots use all four sensor – this reduces their production costs. Yet they are able to rise to the height of a brick that can be used as building materials in the construction of stairs very tall structures.

The team, which included researchers from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, SEAS) and the Institute of Bioengineering Wyss (Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering), spent on the development of such robots four years. In the past, the same scientists have created “kilobotov” , in their behavior very similar to TERMES.
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Tags: Animals , Buildings and Architecture , Robotics , Building .


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