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  • Group of Robotic Particles. 
Particle robots are composed of loosely coupled components, or particles, that lack an individual identity or addressable position. They are capable of only a simple motion—expansion and contraction. However, when a group of particles is coordinated to move as a collective, interesting behavior is observed. Even in amorphous configurations, particle robots exploit statistical mechanics phenomena to produce locomotion.
    Shuguang Li/Columbia Engineering
    Group of Robotic Particles. Particle robots are composed of loosely coupled components, or particles, that lack an individual identity or addressable position. They are capable of only a simple motion—expansion and contraction. However, when a group of particles is coordinated to move as a collective, interesting behavior is observed. Even in amorphous configurations, particle robots exploit statistical mechanics phenomena to produce locomotion.
  • Particle Robot Moves towards the Light.
The particle motion can be phase-modulated by an environmental stimulus, such as a light source. Here, we show a particle robot in which each component measures its light intensity, broadcasts its value to the group, and receives the intensity values of its neighbors to determine its phase delay. This produces undulating motion, with net movement towards the light source.
    Richa Batra, Jane Nisselson, Kyle Parsons/Columbia Engineering
    Particle Robot Moves towards the Light. The particle motion can be phase-modulated by an environmental stimulus, such as a light source. Here, we show a particle robot in which each component measures its light intensity, broadcasts its value to the group, and receives the intensity values of its neighbors to determine its phase delay. This produces undulating motion, with net movement towards the light source.
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