This video shows a fully decentralized swarm of robots (10 units) performing a collective search and exploration. The target objective to be found is the light source (lamp in the bottom left corner) and the swarm has to deal with a completely unknown environment (with multiple obstacles).
All communications and computations are performed at the robot level in a fully decentralized fashion. This swarm of robots is highly robust to the failure of multiple units, and shows high levels of flexibility in dealing with changing environments (including dynamic ones).
This work was carried out in the frame of a research project jointly led by Prof. Erik Wilhelm (PI - MEC) and Prof. Roland Bouffanais (PI - ACG). The system shown in this video was developed by Dr. Mohammadreza Chamambaz and Dr. David Mateo at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. Funding from the TL@SUTD is gratefully acknowledged.
Roland Bouffanais has just been awarded a Temasek Lab Seed Grant for his research project titled: "Dynamic and cooperative swarming of mobile sensing buoys for monitoring the Singapore coastline and reservoirs"
Our experimental paper titled "Interplay between motility and cell-substratum adhesion in amoeboid cells" jointly with Prof. Dick K. P. Yue (MIT, MechE) and Xiaoying Zhu (SUTD) has been accepted for publication.
The effective migration of amoeboid cells requires a fine regulation of cell-substratum adhesion. These entwined processes have been shown to be regulated by a host of biophysical and biochemical cues. Here, we reveal the pivotal role played by calcium-based mechanosensation in the active regulation of adhesion resulting in a high migratory adaptability. Using mechanotactically-driven Dictyostelium discoideum amoebae, we uncover the existence of optimal mechanosensitive conditions—corresponding to specific levels of extracellular calcium—for persistent directional migration over physicochemically different substrates. When these optimal mechanosensitive conditions are met, noticeable enhancement in cell migration directionality and speed is achieved, yet with significant differences among the different substrates. In the same narrow range of calcium concentrations that yields optimal cellular mechanosensory activity, we uncovered an absolute minimum in cell-substratum adhesion activity, for all considered substrates, with differences in adhesion strength among them amplified. The blocking of the mechanosensitive ion channels with gadolinium—i.e. the inhibition of the primary mechanosensory apparatus—hampers the active reduction in substrate adhesion, thereby leading to the same undifferentiated and drastically-reduced directed migratory response. The adaptive behavioral responses of Dictyostelium cells sensitive to substrates with varying physicochemical properties suggest the possibility of novel surface analyses based on the mechanobiological ability of mechanosensitive and guidable
cells to probe substrates at the nanometer-to-micrometer level.
The candidate should have a strong interest in interdisciplinary research. The overall goal of the project is to develop a floating supercomputing cluster with compute nodes on-board mobile buoys capable of sensing and swarming. The sensed data will be fed back into the CFD code to be developed.
The position is available immediately and based at SMART in Singapore (CREATE Campus, University Town) or at SUTD in Singapore.
For more information about the job description and application process: