Prospero is the working prototype of an Autonomous Micro Planter (AMP) that uses a combination of swarm and game theory and is the first of four steps. It is meant to be deployed as a group or “swarm”. The other three steps involve autonomous robots that tend the crops, harvest them, and finally one robot that can plant, tend, and harvest–autonomously transitioning from one phase to another.
Prospero has several steps. It checks to see if a seed has been planted and if not, plants when and then marks it with a biodegradable paint spot. Then it moves on to another spot, all the while signaling the other hexapods it’s status.
The signals to the other hexapods is done by infrared signal. This is currently shown via LEDS. Green LEDS signal the other robots to come closer as seeds need to be planted. Red LEDS signal the other robots to stay away as seeds have already been planted.
Link to Prospero project write up (pdf file).
See more about the contest at SchmartBoard or click through for a movie of the hexapod Prospero in action.
Amazing project David!