S-bot

The s-bot is a small, mobile robot developed at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) at the EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland between 2001 and 2004 as part of a Future and Emerging Technologies project coordinated by Professor Marco Dorigo. The so-called Swarm-bots project is a manifestation of swarm intelligence, a field of artificial intelligence dealing with the design and implementation of self-organizing and self-assembling capabilities, emulating the swarm behavior of social insects and other animal societies. The swarm robotics arm of swarm intelligence aims to study and facilitate robotic group interaction in which robots are designed to use their sensors for inter-robot communication in order to accomplish a given task by teamwork, where a single robot would fail. As examples, s-bots are able to cross a gap or navigate stairs or rough terrain by gripping and lifting one another, or use their force sensors to move an object without explicit communication, just as ants retrieve prey.

The 660 g s-bot is 12 cm in diameter and 15 cm tall, and operates on two LiIon batteries capable of sustaining it for about one hour. It has numerous sensors including position, temperature, humidity, speed, force, ambient light, 2 axis structure deformation, camera, and infrared. The hardware of the s-bot includes a 400 MHz XScale CPU board, 64 MB of RAM, 32 MB of flash memory, and a WIFI antenna for communication with other robots. It has 12 distributed PIC microcontrollers for low-level handling and a custom Linux port running the software, Familiar.

 More information, pictures, and videos are available on the Swarm-bots website.