Emeritus Professor of Tokyo Institsute of Technology
The “Triops Congregans Masahiro(Three eyed Beatles)" was created by the author to demonstrate in Expo'75, held in Okinawa. The author supposed this flock robot consisting of 7 small robots was the first autonomous distributed system in the world.
The movement of the flock showed very interesting phenomenon as if children were playing in the school ground. Mechanical structure and electronic circuit of each of the 7 robots was same.
Back in the 1970's in Japan, there were no microcomputer and only C-Mos IC was available. So, it was remarkable that the robots acted only by C-Mos logic circuits without computer.
Needless to say, there was no central computer. However the 7 robots showed group behavior. It was great interest.
Let me explain how this flock robot worked. As shown on Fig.1 each robot had three eyes: Left eye, center eye and right eye. And the center eye had three visual fields. So each robot had five visual fields as the following:
1)A : left eye(visual angle 66 degrees)
2)B : left part of center eye (20 deg.)
3)C : center part of center eye (12 deg.)
4)D : right part of center eye (20 deg.)
5)E : right eye (66 deg.)
When the center eye find other robots in the follow limit line (2m from itself), it controls its detection to see the other robot in the visual field C, and follows it. If it moves to the approach limit line (0.5m from it) it stops for the settled short time. Then after this short time, when the other robot moves away from the approach limit line it follows again. If the other robot stays inside the approach limit line it changes its direction to avoid collision. When the left eye or the right eye finds other robot it again changes direction to avoid collision.
Each robot has two magnetic sensors in its front to find fences. When the sensors find fences the robot changes direction to go into the fences.
In conclusion, by these given functions the “Three eyed Beatles” which consist of 7 robots makes very interesting flock. This is proud creation of the author.