Termites build huge, complex structures through the collective actions of millions of independent agents. These natural systems inspire the research area of collective construction, whose goal is to develop autonomous multi-robot systems that build large-scale structures according to user specifications. This presentation will give a brief overview of work in this field, and discuss the design and realization of a system of climbing robots that flexibly build structures using specialized building blocks. Robots act independently under decentralized control, using local information, onboard sensing, and implicit coordination through manipulation of a shared environment. A user can specify a target structure using a high-level representation, and robots follow simple rules that guarantee the correct completion of that structure.


Justin Werfel Justin Werfel is a senior research scientist at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. His research interests are in the understanding and design of complex and emergent systems, with work on topics including swarm robotics, engineered molecular nanosystems, social insect behavior, evolutionary theory, tissue modeling, computational neuroscience, and educational robotics.http://people.seas.harvard.edu/~jkwerfel/

Invited Talk e-session

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