Robohub.org
 

mROBerTO: The modular millirobot for swarm behavior studies

by
26 October 2016



share this:
mroberto-title-view-miniature

Developed by a team at the University of Toronto, mROBerTO (milli-ROBot TORonto) is designed for swarm-robotics researchers who might wish to test their collective-behavior algorithms with real physical robots. With just a 16 mm x 16 mm footprint, mROBerTO can be used in a multitude of other miniature robot projects too—its modular design allowing for easy addition or removal of components.

mROBerTOs can determine any nearby robots’ relative distances and bearings by their unique robot IDs (up to 150 mm sensing radius) with the use of modulated IR signals. To achieve this, mROBerTO has an all-around coverage of IR phototransistors and emitters that can receive and send modulated IR signals. Furthermore, mROBerTO is equipped with Bluetooth Smart and ANT Wireless communication capabilities, which allow point-to-point and mesh network communication among robots. As for movement, there are two small motors located at the back of the robot that act as wheels and move the robot in a differential-drive configuration.

mROBerTO modular components. Image: University of Toronto

mROBerTO modular components. Image: University of Toronto

The majority of swarm robotics research has so far been limited to running virtual simulations for the purpose gathering experimental data. In order to test swarm behavior algorithms in a more realistic setting, we have to use physical robots in an environment where real-world constraints act upon the experiments. However, a swarm will often consist of tens—even hundreds—of robots operating together. So robots should ideally be as small as possible if these swarm algorithms are to be tested in a lab setting with limited work-space. And since we need a large number of these robots for experiments, we should aim to use only off-the-shelf components for easy assembly, production, and maintenance. In addition, certain swarm algorithms may require special sensing capabilities in the swarm robots, requiring modular in-design to allow quick exchanges of processing and sensing hardware. mROBerTO was designed to address these specific issues.

At the moment, there are no commercially available mROBerTOs. The BoM costs approximately 60 USD, and the source files of both the hardware and software can be provided by the developers. mROBerTOs were developed using the Eclipse IDE with SEGGER J-Link programmer/debugger but any integrated development environment that supports ARM GCC can be used to develop on mROBerTOs. For wireless debugging and development purposes, we recommend the user getting an nRF51 or nRF52 development board to wirelessly communicate with mROBerTOs.

mROBerTO was developed by Goldie NejatJustin Y. Kim, Tyler Colaco, Zendai Kashino and Beno Benhabib at the University of Toronto, Department of Mechanical Engineering. The latest version of the robot was completed in June 2016 and first featured in 2016 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) as ‘mROBerTO: A Modular Millirobot for Swarm-Behavior Studies’.


If you liked this article, you may also want to read these other articles on swarm robotics:

See all the latest robotics news on Robohub, or sign up for our weekly newsletter.



tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Justin Kim is a graduate researcher of Mechatronics Engineering working in the Computer Integrated Manufacturing Lab and the Autonomous Systems and Biomechatronics Lab at the University of Toronto...
Justin Kim is a graduate researcher of Mechatronics Engineering working in the Computer Integrated Manufacturing Lab and the Autonomous Systems and Biomechatronics Lab at the University of Toronto...





Related posts :



Engineers devise a modular system to produce efficient, scalable aquabots

The system’s simple repeating elements can assemble into swimming forms ranging from eel-like to wing-shaped.
07 February 2023, by

Microelectronics give researchers a remote control for biological robots

First, they walked. Then, they saw the light. Now, miniature biological robots have gained a new trick: remote control.
05 February 2023, by

Robot Talk Episode 35 – Interview with Emily S. Cross

In this week's episode of the Robot Talk podcast, host Claire Asher chatted to Professor Emily S. Cross from the University of Glasgow and Western Sydney University all about neuroscience, social learning, and human-robot interaction.
03 February 2023, by

Sea creatures inspire marine robots which can operate in extra-terrestrial oceans

Scientists at the University of Bristol have drawn on the design and life of a mysterious zooplankton to develop underwater robots.
02 February 2023, by

Our future could be full of undying, self-repairing robots – here’s how

Could it be that future AI systems will need robotic “bodies” to interact with the world? If so, will nightmarish ideas like the self-repairing, shape-shifting T-1000 robot from the Terminator 2 movie come to fruition? And could a robot be created that could “live” forever?
01 February 2023, by

Sensing with purpose

Fadel Adib uses wireless technologies to sense the world in new ways, taking aim at sweeping problems such as food insecurity, climate change, and access to health care.
29 January 2023, by





©2021 - ROBOTS Association


 












©2021 - ROBOTS Association