voltron-robots

Science and technology is taking over the world with new innovations every day. If you Google the latest science news, you will see that science has advanced so much over the years that people are finding it difficult to catch up on the latest inventions. From flying drones to self-driven cars, every new invention is proving to be useful to the world and human effort is gradually being replaced. With machines that are highly efficient and having the ability to do more work than human beings, many people are losing jobs over time.

The world of science is caught up with one of the most recent inventions. These are ‘Voltron‘ like smart robots that have the ability to choose their own leader. Doesn’t that sound new and interesting? Well, they are more interesting than it actually sounds.
The idea behind this invention is taken from the famous American animated television series – Voltron: Defender of the Universe, where five lion-shaped robots link up to form a giant robot that fights against evil. A team of scientists has come up with robots that work together and choose their own leader.

What usually happens is, when the ‘brain’ of a robot gets damaged, it is taken to robotic lab or a repair shop to get it fixed. However, the team of scientists, led by Marco Dorigo, head of a robotic lab in Brussels, built robots that can link up together, react to their surroundings, and can pass on authority to another member in the group. As a result, when one member is unable to function, another member can take the charge and lead the group.

autonomous smart robots
These autonomous robots know how to work as a team and even how to choose the best leader.
Credit: Nithin Mathews

The leader can decide to add new robots to the group and link it with everyone. If the leader runs out of battery, everyone else can pick another new leader and that is how the process runs. This makes sure that the robots are never lost when performing any task and that they have someone to guide them in the right path.

Whenever one robot is unable to perform or complete any particular task, it is programmed to link up with other robots and together they can accomplish the task. The group of scientists carried out an experiment where one robot was unable to lift a brick and it connected with robots that had arms, in order to life the brick.

Drones have a similar way of working too but the difference is that these drones are pre-programmed, using their ability of sensing positions before linking up. But the ‘Voltron’ like robots are not pre-programmed. Instead, they create a type of nervous system that helps to decide who will be the brain and who will be the limb. This amazing feature allows these robots to adapt to any new circumstance.

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How does this setup work? Well, the robots have been made with internal maps of one another. These maps look like hierarchical trees. When the leader stops functioning, others can spot where they are and those closer to the ‘root’ of the tree are preferred as the new leader.

The way these robots have been created and functioned proves that robots can perform any given task by linking up with one another. This advancement in the creation of robots can solve a lot of problems in the world and one day, they might make the world free of evil.


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