RESEARCH

We engineer swarm systems across scales, from trillions of nanoparticles, or millions of cells, to thousands of robots.

The challenge is to discover which individual actions give rise to desired swarm behaviours.

We take inspiration from nature, use machine learning, or the power of the crowd to engineer swarms.

PROJECTS

Swarm arena for micro- nanosystems

Swarm behaviours arise from the interactions between agents and their environment. By controlling the environment of nanoparticles or bacteria, we aim to engineer their swarm behaviours. This will require the design of a tiny swarm arena that can fit under the microscope and enable fine spatial-temporal control of chemical, energy, or tactile signals in the environment.

Main Researchers: Ana Rubio Denniss, Jack Phillips
Supervisors: Thomas Gorochowski, Sabine Hauert
Funding: EPSRC DTP, EPSRC Institutional Support

Screening nanoparticle dynamics for cancer treatment

Understanding how trillions of nanoparticles move and interact in tumour tissue could prove instrumental to improve tissue penetration and cellular update. To this end we’re designing a tumour-on-a-chip microfluidic device to screen nanoparticle dynamics under the microscope.
Main Researchers: Matthew Hockley, Sara Carreira
Supervisors: Andy Collins, Adam Perriman, Sabine Hauert
Funding: EPSRC DTP, EBI Blackwell Institute

Scaling robot swarms to huge numbers

Natural swarm systems often operate in huge numbers of simple agents. Understanding the tradeoff between individual complexity, and ability to operate in the thousands, could enable swarm robotics applications that require large numbers of robots.

Main Researcher: Daniel Carrillo Zapata
Supervisors: Luca Giuggioli, Alan Winfield, Sabine Hauert
Funding: EPSRC Farscope CDT

Swarm engineering with embodied reality modelling

Designing controllers for swarm robots to produce a desired collective behaviour is hard, and current off-line methods are brittle in the face of changing environments. By giving each swarm agent sufficient processing power to conduct on-board reality simulations, we hope to be able to continually evolve new controllers in an adaptive and distributed way. To this end, we are building a swarm of Xpucks (eXtended e-pucks) with a collective processing power of 2 Teraflops.

Main Researcher: Simon Jones
Supervisors: Sabine Hauert, Matthew Studley, Alan Winfield
Funding: EPSRC Farscope CDT

Swarm monitoring of animal populations

Large numbers of minimally invasive tiny mobile robots could be deployed in natural habitats to dynamically monitor animal habitats. This will require new outdoor swarm robotic platforms, and algorithms that adapt to animal behaviour.

Main Researcher: Alana Richards
Supervisors: Luca Giuggioli, Sabine Hauert
Funding: EPSRC Farscope CDT

Bio-inspired robot fish

Certain fish are better and shoaling that others. We aim to learn from fish morphology and behaviour studies to design a new type of underwater robot swarm.

Main Researcher: Elliott Scott
Supervisors: Christos Ioannou, Martin Genner, Sabine Hauert
Funding: EPSRC DTP