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GRASP Special Seminar: Steven Ceron, Cornell University, “Swarms Across Length Scales with Local-to-Global Behaviors”

April 14, 2022 @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am

*This was a HYBRID Event with in-person attendance in Towne 337 and Virtual attendance…


Collectives in nature demonstrate behaviors that extend far beyond the capabilities of any single agent. Social slime mold, for example, has thousands of cells that aggregate and form mobile and immobile nutrient-searching structures as a function of chemical signals. This species embodies many features that swarm roboticists wish to incorporate in scalable, self-reconfigurable robot collectives: local-to-global behaviors, low-level communication, plasticity, and simple constituents. I argue that regardless of the length scale, we can implement some of the same principles and features to exploit robot morphology, physical interactions among agents, and low-level coordination mechanisms to enable diverse collective behaviors for useful functions in many fields. I present novel emergent collective behaviors at the macro-scale and micron scale and explain how each behavior arises as a function of agents interacting with other agents, agents reacting to their environment, and agents exploiting their environment to affect other agents. Specifically, I show cell-inspired, macro-scale soft robot collectives for distributed systems with coupled sensing and actuation, magnetic microrobot collectives with reconfigurable behaviors and functions for biomedical applications, and cross-scale coordination mechanisms through virtual swarming coupled oscillators for macro- and micro-scale collective control applications.


Steven Ceron

Steven Ceron

Steven Ceron is a Ph.D. candidate in the Collective Embodied Intelligence lab at Cornell University where he focuses on low-level coordination mechanisms that enable diverse emergent collective behaviors at the macro-scale and micron scale. He is interested in enabling robots with limited actuation, sensing, and processing capabilities to seamlessly work in teams by exploiting their morphology and the physical interactions with each other and the environment to carry out complex functions that would otherwise be difficult or impossible with a single agent. His major research topics include soft robotics, microrobotics, swarm intelligence, and coupled oscillators. His work is being published in a wide variety of journals and conferences with interests to roboticists, physicists, and mathematicians, and has been highlighted in multiple media outlets including National Geographic and IEEE Spectrum. He is the recipient of the Fulbright Germany Scholarship which allowed him to study microrobot collectives at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems. He is also a Cornell Colman fellow and a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow.


April 14, 2022
10:30 am - 11:30 am
Event Category:


Towne 337
220 S. 33rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
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