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Fall 2011 GRASP Seminar – Justin Werfel, Harvard University, “Collective Construction by Termites and Other Robots”

September 9, 2011 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Abstract: The research goal of collective construction is to develop autonomous
multi-robot systems that build large-scale structures according to user
specifications.  I will discuss issues in the design of such systems,
and present TERMES, a system of climbing robots and passive building
blocks inspired by the construction activities of termites.  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.  I will close with
a discussion of experimental studies of African termites, aimed at
better understanding their behaviors and how these affect the
structures they produce.


- Learn More

Justin Werfel is a research scientist at Harvard University’s Wyss
Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. His research
interests are in the understanding and design of complex systems, and
include topics in swarm robotics, DNA self-assembly, and evolutionary
theory. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from MIT in 2006,
followed by postdoctoral work at Harvard and the New England Complex
Systems Institute.


September 9, 2011
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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