Orbital Construction

Orbital construction (OC) is an algorithm that drives a swarm of simple robots to push objects into a desired shape. The shape is specified by a scalar field which plays a similar role to the pheromones used by social insects (e.g. termites and ants) when forming their sophisticated nest structures.

OC was introduced in [Vardy, 2018]. M.Sc student Caroline Strickland then investigated the application of Reinforcement Learning to the problem of pushing objects into a desired shape. [Strickland, Churchill and Vardy, 2019]. Most recently, we introduced a hardware realization of this algorithm described in a paper submitted to ICRA 2020.