Physical interactions in swarm robotics: the hand-bot case study
This paper presents a case-study on the performance achieved by the mechanical interactions of self-assembling mobile robots. This study is based on the hand-bot robot, designed to operate within heterogeneous swarms of robots. The hand-bot is specialized in object manipulation and can improve its performance by exploiting physical collaborations by self-assembling with other hand-bots or with foot-bots (ground robots). The paper analyzes the achieved performance and demonstrates the highly super-linear properties of the accessible volume in respect to the number of robots. These extremely interesting performances are strongly linked to the self-assembling mechanisms and the physical nature of the interaction, and do not scale to a large number of robots. Finally, this study suggests that such interesting properties are more accessible for heterogeneous systems or devices achieving complex tasks.