Make Kilobots truly accessible to all the people around the world


Kilobots are micro-robots originally designed by Rubenstein and Nagpal's research group to be inexpensive, quick to build, and versatile with many functionalities. Once Kilobots were made public in 2012, they have instantly become a valuable tool for empirical validation of swarm robotics and an entertaining instrument for educational demonstrations. However, although the original designs were publicly available, when the authors initially built the Kilobots by following the instructions, several issues occurred. The most challenging issue was about the calibration board. The authors reached out to several research groups world-wide and found out that others encountered similar issues. Most groups purchased their Kilobots from K-Team at a much higher price and with a long waiting time in the ordering process, defeating the purpose of Kilobots being inexpensive micro-robots that are quick to build. The authors were inspired to revise the design of the Kilobots, to make them truly accessible to all the researchers and educators around the world. The redesign is not an overhaul of the original design; instead, it is aimed at making the building process of Kilobots feasible and time-efficient. The main areas of the redesign are in PCB layout, distance calibration, and the associated documentation update. During the redesign process, the authors were very grateful for the help received from the inventors of the Kilobots and several other research groups. The final design has been tested in house and in another research group. The authors are also working on creating a website to present all the relevant information publicly and freely, so that Kilobots will be widely accessible to all the researchers and educators, gaining a greater social impact than that of now.

DOI: 10.1109/ARSO.2016.7736254

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Cite this paper

@article{Thomas2016MakeKT, title={Make Kilobots truly accessible to all the people around the world}, author={Nathan Thomas and Yanjun Yan}, journal={2016 IEEE Workshop on Advanced Robotics and its Social Impacts (ARSO)}, year={2016}, pages={43-48} }