The natural world abounds with self-organizing collectives, where large numbers of relatively simple agents use local interactions to produce impressive global behaviors.
Well-known examples include social insect colonies, bird flocks, and fish schools. Mathematicians and engineers have strived to understand the mapping from local interactions onto global behaviors and vice versa in a quest to understand natural collective intelligence.
Implicit coordination for 3D underwater collective behaviors in a fish-inspired robot swarm from Harvard
Now, Harvard researchers have developed fish-inspired robots that can synchronize their movements like a school of fish. The underwater robots, dubbed Blueswarm, have no external control.
Each underwater robot, called a Bluebot, is equipped with two cameras and three LED lights. The fisheye-lens cameras detect the LEDs of neighboring Bluebots and use a custom algorithm to determine their distance, direction, and heading.
It is the first time researchers have demonstrated complex 3D collective behaviors with implicit coordination in underwater robots.
How Arducam products end up being part of this exciting project
The onboard computer of each fish is a Raspberry Pi Zero W, and the cameras are two Pi Camera modules with wide-angle lenses. Using the position information calculated from the cameras, the school can coordinate its movements to spread out, group together, swim in a circle, or find an object and then converge on it.
So here comes the question. We need two “fish eyes” or two Pi camera modules with fisheye lenses. However, the Raspberry Pi Zero W only comes with a single camera connector. This is where Arducam comes in with our multi-camera adapter solution.
This Arducam 2-channel multi-camera adapter is a shrink-down version of the 4-channel camera adapter that can mate well with the Raspberry Pi Zero W. It can switch between the two camera modules so we can acquire the field of two cameras on a single Raspberry Pi Zero.
If you are interested in more details, you can:
- Read the full academic article on Science Robotics.
- Read the news report on Harvard John A.Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
- Learn About the works of Professor Radhika Nagpal.
- Learn About the works of the PhD Candidate Florian Berlinger.