Self-Organized Embedded Sensor/Actuator Networks for ''Smart'' Turbines
Combining networks of static sensors with minimalist robotic swarms might enable a new generation of micromachinery equipped with sensor and actuator networks for inspection, maintenance, and repair. In such a scenario, limited capabilities of swarm members (due to miniaturization or for economical reasons) might render deterministic algorithms unfeasible and require a self-organized approach. Driven by a case study concerned with the autonomous inspection of a jet turbine engine, we identify three main research axes: development of appropriate hardware, modeling and design of self-organized dynamical systems, and synthesis of robot controllers to achieve a desired collective behavior, which is for instance provided by an human operator during runtime. We also present our developments of embedded communication systems for miniature robots, allowing for communication within the swarm and static nodes in the environment. Such networks of static and mobile nodes might allow for sophisticated spatio-temporal coordination, which would otherwise require localization and navigation abilities that are unfeasible on miniature platforms.