Continuing from yesterday’s post, let’s explore this idea of calculating one’s location by analyzing the time delay from two separately located sound sources.
It would be easy to apply this principle to a swarm of robot vehicles. In this scheme, a stationary transmitter containing two physically separated speakers sends out periodic ultrasonic pulses. Each robot vehicle contains a clock, so it knows what time each pulse was supposed to have originated. By measuring the delay in receiving each of the two sounds, the robot can calculate its own location.
We can also do this in 3D, with a swarm of flying robot vehicles. In that case we would need a transmitter containing three speakers, physically arranged into a triangle, but the principle would be the same.
In any case, we can broadcast digital instructions saying where we want each robot to be. When any given robot is told where it should be, it will know which way it needs to go. This allows us to centralize the planning for the swarm’s behavior into a single computer, rather than requiring each robot to be smart on its own.
It would be fun to think of uses for such a swarm of robots — whether for artistic or practical purposes. But what would you call such a flock? A flock of crows is called a “murder” (hence the title of that work at the Park Avenue Armory). Bowing to literary precedent, perhaps it should be called a rossum of robots.