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Vessels, a fascinating project by Stephen Kelly, Sofian Audry, and Samuel St. Aubin, consists of 50 autonomous aquatic robots scooting around a pool and beaming infrared signals to each other that modify their behavior. After awhile their simple behaviors begin to resemble those of living beings, after a fashion–sort of like Conway’s Game of Life with robots?

Each robot has one or two sensors measuring sound, light, temperature, and so on, making it dependent on its fellows. Additionally, each robot reacts to its neighbors’ actions, so an aggressive move by one robot causes a ripple effect among others nearby.

The robots have custom PCBs loaded with white and RGB LEDs, IR LEDs and receivers, a RTC module, compass, hall effect and a variety of other sensors. The processor is an Atmega1280 (the same chip as on the Arduino Mega) and is programmed in Arduino. [via we make money not art]

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


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