Lumibots are small autonomous robots that leave a fading trail of light as they navigate around a field. Lumibots reveal a new style of multimedia representation, one where the autonomous together, they make a collective memory space of chosen paths and deviations
Lumibots are small autonomous robots that leave a fading trail of light as they navigate around a field. During their navigation, they prefer to seek the paths of other robots or even themselves. This enforces the trail of light, making it brighter and easier to see by other bots. Lumibots reveal a new style of multimedia representation, one where the autonomous together, they make a collective memory space of chosen paths and deviations—moving beyond cellular automata, they exploring emergent swarms and artificial life patterns through physical movement and generation.
The lumiBots can follow their own lines as well as those of the other robots and such create an ant-trail-like mechanism, luring more and more robots on the same trail. The lines fade away with time, a quality that is essential to local information transfer: It guarantees that there will never be a data overflow.
Under their transparent shell one can see their glowing electronic organs pulse. They herein resemble creatures from the deep sea, or jellyfish, as well as in their limited cognitive capacities. The robots do not have a memory chip, but the glowing trails can be seen as a kind of external memory.
The lumiBots trace their path with a UV LED on a glow-in-the-dark mat. Each robot has its own "brain" in the form of an Arduino micro-controller, and two light sensors. The behaviour of the lumiBots is not pre-programmed and not predictable. It emerges from the interaction between the robots, the simple rules they follow, and the influences from their surroundings.
With the lumiBots, Kronemann explores the topic of emergence, swarms, and artificial life forms that I have touched with my interactive floor projection "schüchterne lichter" (timid lights) from 2006: An artificial swarm that evolves emergent (not programmed or planned) effects and evokes reactions similar to those towards a living creature from the observer.
Lumibots were created by Mea Lean Kronemann
Mey Lean Kronemann's site contains a detailed description of the project - http://meyleankronemann.de/lumibots.html
Mey Lean Kronemann and Verena V. Hafner. 2010. LumiBots: making emergence graspable in a swarm of robots. In Proceedings of the 8th ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems(DIS '10). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 408-411. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1858171.1858249