SpinBot: An Autonomous, Externally Actuated Robot for Swarm Applications

Michael Rubenstein, Andrew SaLoutos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Complexity, cost, and power requirements of individual robots are large factors in limiting the size of robotic swarms. In this paper, we present a prototype robot, the SpinBot, that is externally actuated via an orbital table and has only one infrared sensor pair for communication and sensing. The SpinBot can move autonomously in 2D by activating and de-activating its only onboard actuator, an electro-permanent magnet, and can communicate and sense the angles between its neighbors. The angle sensing is accomplished by adding a bearing to the robot chassis and offsetting the center of mass from the point of attachment between the SpinBot and the table surface, so that the upper part of SpinBot rotates about itself at the same frequency as the orbital table. We describe the design of the SpinBot in detail, and present results from our implementation of a centering algorithm for a group of four SpinBots which utilizes the SpinBot’s unique sensing and locomotion abilities.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDistributed Autonomous Robotic Systems
Subtitle of host publicationPreoceedings of the 14th International Symposium
EditorsNikolaus Correll, Mac Schwager, Michael Otte
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)978-3030058159
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameSpringer Proceedings in Advanced Robotics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'SpinBot: An Autonomous, Externally Actuated Robot for Swarm Applications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this