Researchers at the University of Lincoln, UK, and the Tsinghua University in China have developed an inexpensive robot called Colias, that they say is ideal for studying applications involving teams of robots working together. Named after a genus of butterfly, the robots are said to be able to mimic the behavior of honeybees. (I guess these researchers like their metaphors mixed.) Each robot measures 1.6 in in diameter, and moves at a speed of 13.8 inches per second.
“Colias has been designed as a complete platform with supporting software development tools for robotics education and research. This concept allows for the coordination of simple physical robots in order to cooperatively perform tasks,” researcher Farshad Arvin, from the University of Lincoln, said in a press release. “The decentralised control of robotic swarms can be achieved by providing well-defined interaction rules for each individual robot.”
Robot swarms have long been a popular field of research, but the challenge is keeping costs low enough to be able to afford lots and lots of bots. At £25 per robot, Colias provides a cost-effective solution.