Cooperation of Autonomous NXT Robots Using Bluetooth Wireless Technology Page: 1
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Cooperation of Autonomous NXT Robots Using Bluetooth Wireless Technology
By: Jesse Bell, Skyline High School, Dallas, TX and Elizabeth Freeman- Frisco High School, Frisco, TX
RET: Research Experiences for Teachers on Sensor Networks Summer 2013
University of North Texas, Denton Texas
Abstract: This paper highlights the exploration of
multi-agent NXT Robotics systems using a Bluetooth
communication channel. The project consisted of
using Bluetooth technology to coordinate movements
between two agents. The benefits of creating a swarm
of robots with individual capabilities include a more
controllable system as opposed to a single and more
complicated machine. The lead robot was
programmed to follow a specified path using a light
sensor, then send, via Bluetooth, a message indicating
follower instructions. The sensitivity of the light
sensor and the Lego Mindstorms software limitations
created inconsistencies in the follower program.
Hypotheses regarding the lack of success in the
following capabilities of the robots involve limitations
of the NXT-G software. One conclusion is that
inability to adjust the Bluetooth settings is the source
of miscommunication between the robots. Specifically,
the ability to adjust the rate of messages sent/received
may improve overall communication.
Keywords - Autonomous; Robot; Bluetooth; NXT;
It may be difficult to imagine that just 40 years
ago robots were primarily thought to be only in one's
imagination or in cartoons on television on Saturday
mornings. But today, robots are commonplace and
their presence is illustrated in almost every industry
across the globe. Robots are a staple among military
and police operations where human involvement is
unsafe. Most recently, there has been much interest in
deploying multiple robots for studying asteroids as
well as other planets.
Current research at NASA, for instance, involves
the deployment of robots on Mars that can
communicate with each other and at the same time
perform various different tasks. This is an
improvement on a system where a single robot carries
out multiple functions. Details and barriers involving
such a complex machine are avoided with the use of
several, more simple, machines. The most critical of
the tasks needed for success would be navigation and
communication between the robots. Navigation is
paramount because the robots must be able to travel in
a given area. Communication is important because the
robots must maintain the ability to transmit
information between each other in order to achieve a
Communication between autonomous robots is
critical in any circumstance, regardless of purpose.
Two ways to accomplish communication may be
directly from robot to robot, or indirectly, via a base
station. Rooker and Birk show success in having a
swarm of robots performing random exploration as a
pack while maintaining wireless communication with a
base station . Work by Zermas shows that this
type of involvement, often referred to as an absolute
reference coordinating system, causes an increase in
error, and is not preferable when actual trajectory, or
desired path is in order . When the base station was
not involved, robots inclined to find themselves in a
deadlock. A solution to this was the assignment of
roles to each robot. A lead robot could coordinate the
movement and direction of robots toward a specific
location in order to resolve or avoid such a problem.
This scenario could continue under many
circumstances . Without a lead robot to coordinate
movements, the use of wireless communication, like
Bluetooth, along with sensors to maintain a constant
distance between members of the swarm was found
Coordinating multiple robots using wireless
communication protocols is relatively commonplace as
of today. However, the use of the recently developed
Bluetooth protocol for these types of tasks is original.
"An accurate communication system is crucial to solve
the leader/follower task" . The robots used in this
project consisted of two NXT LEGO Mindstorm
Robot Kits from LEGO Mindstorms. The LEGO
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Bell, Jesse; Freeman, Elizabeth; Namuduri, Kamesh & Costilla, Omar. Cooperation of Autonomous NXT Robots Using Bluetooth Wireless Technology, report, 2013; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc181664/m1/1/: accessed February 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Engineering.