Phototactic Supersmarticles

Abstract

Smarticles or smart active particles are small robots equipped with only basic movement and sensing abilities that are incapable of rotating or displacing individually. We study the ensemble behavior of smarticles, i.e., the behavior a collective of these very simple computational elements can achieve, and how such behavior can be implemented using minimal programming. We show that an ensemble of smarticles constrained to remain close to one another (which we call a supersmarticle), achieves directed locomotion toward or away from a light source, a phenomenon known as phototaxing. We present experimental and theoretical models of phototactic supersmarticles that collectively move with a directed displacement in response to light. The motion of the supersmarticle is stochastic, performing approximate free diffusion, and is a result of chaotic interactions among smarticles. The system can be directed by introducing asymmetries among the individual smarticle’s behavior, in our case, by varying activity levels in response to light, resulting in supersmarticle-biased motion.

Publication
Artificial Life and Robotics
William Savoie
William Savoie
PhD, Physics
Sarah Cannon
Sarah Cannon
Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Joshua J. Daymude
Joshua J. Daymude
Assistant Professor, Computer Science

I am a Christian and assistant professor in computer science studying collective emergent behavior and programmable matter through the lens of distributed computing, stochastic processes, and bio-inspired algorithms. I also love gaming and playing music.

Ross Warkentin
Ross Warkentin
Advanced Software Engineer
Shengkai Li
Shengkai Li
PhD Student, Physics
Andréa W. Richa
Andréa W. Richa
Professor of Computer Science
Dana Randall
Dana Randall
Professor of Computer Science
Daniel I. Goldman
Daniel I. Goldman
Professor of Physics

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