Fish-like robots interact with each other without human assistance

Schools of fish exhibit complex synchronized behavior: it helps them find food, migrate and

dodge predators.No one in particular coordinates these movements, and the fish do not tell each other what to do next. This behavior results from what is called implicit coordination, where individual fish make decisions based on what they see and what their neighbors are doing.

This type of decentralized, autonomousself-organization and coordination has long attracted scientists: they decided to use it in robotics. A team of researchers from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. John A. Paulson (SEAS) and the Wyss Institute for Biological Engineering have developed fish-inspired robots that can synchronize their movements.

Robots often work in places thatinaccessible or dangerous to people, as well as areas where human intervention may not even be possible. In situations like this, you really need to have a highly autonomous robot swarm. Using a set of fish behaviors and 3D visual perception, we were able to create a system that has a high degree of autonomy and flexibility underwater.

Florian Berlinger, Ph.D. SEAS and Wyss candidate and first article author

A swarm of robots inspired by fish gotthe name Blueswarm. The researchers have developed a vision-based coordination system based on blue LEDs. Each underwater robot is equipped with two cameras and three LED lights. Onboard cameras detect LEDs on nearby fish and use a special algorithm to determine their distance, direction and course.

So Blueswarm can demonstrate complex self-organized behavior: in particular, aggregation, scattering and circle formation.

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