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Jumping ants robots use teamwork to overcome obstacles

Researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have developed tiny robots with similar skills. They can jump or crawl on surfaces and communicate with each other to perform complex tasks and achieve goals.

The "Tribots" are origami robots with three legs, autonomous and unattached. "Their movements are patterned after those of the Odontomachus ants, which normally crawl, but to escape a predator, they combine their powerful jaws to jump from leaf to leaf," said Zhenishbek Zhakypov, the newspaper's first author. The robots use a similar mechanism to close and catapult themselves to the desired location.

Each little bot has minimal intelligence, but when connected to his brother or sister, the collective can work together to solve puzzles, such as navigating around an obstacle or moving a bulky object and heavy. Robots take on one of the following three roles in the face of a challenge: explorer, to detect physical obstacles; worker, to combine the force of moving objects; or leader, to instruct others.

"Each Tribot, like the ants Odontomachus, can have different roles, but they can also take on new roles instantly when confronted with a new mission or unfamiliar environment, or even when others do not. members are lost, can do, "says Professor Jamie Paik, group leader.

The robots could potentially be deployed for search and rescue missions because they do not rely on GPS to communicate. They are also easy to manufacture and can be grouped into large groups. If some robots were lost during a mission, others could continue to work without them. However, the greatest strength of robots could be their adaptability. In some circumstances, such as in an unknown environment, this could make them even more efficient than larger and more powerful robots.

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