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Bacterial trick keeps robots in sync

One way to synchronize a group of robots is for each to communicate with one another about their positions, but distance between the robots can lead to time delays. And when many robots are involved, the complexity of this communication network grows. To skirt such problems, researchers from MIT have taken inspiration from bacteria that synchronize their behavior not by checking in with each other, but by checking in with their environment.

Many bacteria coordinate via a process called quorum sensing...Similarly, MIT’s Jean-Jacques Slotine and Patrick Bechon coordinated the behavior of eight dancing humanoid robots by having the bots send information to — and get information from — an external computer server.

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