Robotics
Open source swarm robot project
formicaSwarm_1.jpg
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I love these swarm robots and the relative simplicity of the design, the means on motility (BEAM-style direct-drive pager motors), and the charging scheme (the bots in the lower image, to the right, are at the charging rail). The wiki that’s been set up doesn’t have too much info yet. There’s even going to be a kit you can buy of a mostly-assembled bot (you just have to solder on the motors, battery, and a few through-hole components).

This is the community portal for the formica project which has developed and built a swarm of miniature robots. The robots, only 30x28x15mm are fully autonomous with programmable and natural emergent behaviour. The robots work using biological algorithms to complete a task as a group. They also exhibit a collective swarm memory.

The robot designs are completely open source and have also been released as a kit which is an ideal beginners soldering project for individuals or groups. The robots are currently programmed using an inexpensive programming tool.

Formica

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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