from the blood stream.
However, occasionally cells in the blood or
elsewhere in the body manage to defeat the
encoded self-destruct instructions and grow
unabated. Unfortunately, this cancer is usually at the
expense of other cells and the body as a whole.
So, again, to the practical implications, what's
the take-home message for the typical robotics
enthusiast? Well, if you're working with autonomous
swarms — or even just a pair of carpet roamers —
can you devise a way to let one signal the other that
its systems are failing? The 'failure' could be as
simple as an RTC (real time clock) chip connected to
the microcontroller in one of the robots.
When the time is up, the "hurt" robot transmits a
signal — say an IR stream — that the other robot
must intercept and decode.
How the second 'helper' robot responds is up to
you. If you're of the battle-bot mentality, then
perhaps a quick blow by a hammer is appropriate.
Or, perhaps you can devise a means of connecting
the two systems together for recharging the 'sick'
robot — think in-flight refueling of an aircraft or
Now, consider how a swarm of autonomous
quadcopters could remain aloft and 'stealthy' without
need for intervention from ground control. The
'tanker' drone — equivalent to the macrophage in the
blood — would either destroy a damaged quadcopter
that's a danger to other copters in the swarm, or
charge the battery of a nearly depleted copter.
SERVO 12.2012 7