Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Department of Mechanical Engineering have found a creative way to display their latest work in distributed algorithms. They created a garden that includes more than 100 moving origami robots, such as flowers that bloom and change color with LED lights. The system is managed via tablet or any Bluetooth-enabled device. The interface shows the garden split into tiles. Users can either click a specific item to control it or try the advanced “control by code” feature which allows them to add their own commands and see them work in real-time. The system is described in a paper recently accepted to the 2015 International Conference on Robotics and Automation.
The team that designed the robotic garden hopes it is a visually pleasing way to inspire more young children to get interested in robotics and programming. After the garden was displayed to local students at CSAIL’s recent “Hour of Code,” the team was thrilled when a few students asked where they could get components to make their own robotic systems.
We hope that it also helps introduce students to topics like graph theory and networking in a way that’s both beautiful and engaging.