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Virtual Dictionary

Foglet Swarm

A Foglet swarm is a swarm of microscopic or nano-scale robots known as foglets. Another, more common name for a foglet swarm is Utility Fog.

Utility fog is an ultimate type of swarm robotics. Originally coined in 1993 by the nanorobotics expert John Storrs Hall, the concept takes manufacturing to a whole new level.

As the name utility fog implies, the foglets are a fog in the air that is useful to us. In this case to build something solid out of itself.

Each foglet in the utility fog is basically a tiny ball or polygonal sphere with connective arms capable of extending in every direction or withdrawing inside the ball. When extended, they connect to the extended arm of another foglet, and the connection allows both data and power to flow. Each possessing a tiny computation centre, and possibly a power source, the whole idea of utility fog is that the robotic swarm can be programmed to self-assemble according to any conceivable structure.

Connecting randomly at first, the swarm would in theory be capable of determining the current and desired shape of their structure, with individual robots extending or retracting their connective arms according to the needs of the overall structure.

It is a conceptual way of building, that could literally allow a building or piece of furniture to self-assemble just from pouring a bucket full of foglets on the ground at the desired location, providing programming instructions and a power source.

Equally conceivably, when the structure no-longer has a purpose, the swarm could be told to dismantle, and break their connections with one another, turning back into a utility fog where once a building stood. Of course, in some cases it might be better to make the connections permanent once established, to avoid nefarious use of this feature in an inhabited building, for example.

Nothing in the concept of utility fog, or the foglet itself, contradicts what we currently understand of the behaviour of swarm robotic systems. If anything, our understanding continues to reinforce the belief that these are quite possible.

See also: Particle Swarm, Swarm Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Swarm Intelligence, Ant Colony Optimisation, Ant Colony Optimisation Algorithms

Below, we offer a selection of links from our resource databases which may match this term.

Related Dictionary Entries for Foglet Swarm:


Foglet Swarm

Utility Fog


Resources in our database matching the Term Foglet Swarm:

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Crowdsourcing Swarm Control
Rice University's Multi-Robot Systems Laboratory has created an online game designed solely to help further research into swarm control of simple robotic systems. Namely the quest to find truly effective control strategies for their own bespoke r-one swarm robotic system.

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Droplet Robots: A Physical Particle Swarm
In virtual spaces, a particle swarm is a large number of independent, intelligently-behaving particles, each of which possesses certain properties, such as if one moves, the ones near it are pulled in a certain way, or twisted or turned around, etcetera. However they've always been limited solely to virtual spaces with no physical equivalent. That is the case no-longer.

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Robot Fish Leads Organic Fish
Alife research carried out using a robotic fish and a swarm of biological fish in a water tunnel, has concluded that biomimetic movement is key to social interaction with animals of all types; not just humans. If it swims like a leader of the shoal, it is the leader of the shoal.


Industry News containing the Term Foglet Swarm:

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Australian scientists are using the collective intelligence found in insect swarms to develop the next generation of hi-tech military hardware.

Alex Ryan, a mathematician with the government's Defence Science and Technology ...

The US military has launched 103 miniature swarming drones from a fighter jet during a test in California.

Three F/A-18 Super Hornets were used to release the Perdix drones last October.

The drones, which have ...

A flock of indoor uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) is being used to fasttrack development of swarms of drone planes.

We're focusing on persistent surveillance," says project leader Jonathan How at MIT in the US. "This wou...

The innate intelligence of ants is helping Australian-based scientists develop prosthetic limbs that respond to brain signals in groundbreaking research that could change the lives of amputees.

The technology, created by a te...

The next experiment from Rice Universityís Multi-Robot Systems Laboratory (MRSL) could happen on your desktop. The labís researchers are refining their control algorithms for robotic swarms based upon data from five free online games that a...