Frederik de Wilde

ART • [Science • Technology] + Society



  • installation
  • Robotics
  • Swarm


Swarm behaviour, or swarming, is a collective behaviour exhibited by animals of similar size which aggregate together, perhaps milling about the same spot or perhaps moving en masse or migrating in some direction.



Robotic swarm that builds up a dialogue with space, sound, light and the audience.

The project plays on the psychology of borders. What is a border? How psychological is a border? What is security? Can the laser beams be perceived as some sort of kinetic cage? Can we change the architecture through interaction? Can we ‘break’ the patterns as an audience? Are borders made to be crossed? Can we reprogram space, behaviours, …, new experiences, another world?



All technologies are social technologies

Swarm (intelligence) behavior is found everywhere (micro and macro level), hence universal


Swarm Robotics

Swarm robotics is an approach to robotics that emphasizes many simple robots instead of a single complex robot. A robot swarm has much in common with an ant colony or swarm of bees. No individual in the group is very intelligent or complex, but combined, they can perform difficult tasks. One use that researchers have demonstrated for swarm robotics is mapping. A single robot would constantly need to keep track of its location, remember where it had been and figure out how to avoid obstacles while still exploring the entire area. A swarm of robots could be programmed simply to avoid obstacles while keeping in contact with other members of the swarm. The data from all of the robots in the swarm is then combined into a single map.

The problems of organizing a swarm haven’t kept people from imagining what swarm robotics could offer some day. Some scientists envision a swarm of very small microbots being used to explore other planets. Other proposed uses include search-and-rescue missions, mining and even firefighting. When used with nanobots — microscopic-size robots — swarm robotics could even be used in human medicine.



Karslruhe Institute of Technology

Alexander Kettler and Marc Szymanski



Partially funded by the Flemish Ministry of Culture

With the support of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology


Technical Info

1 unit 51 mm  ø – 45 mm high

5 rgb leds

6 infrared channels

Color sensors

Programmable behaviours customizable to any space/audience

Realtime sound to light conversion/translation (leds + lasers – ambient + line input)






UMwelt-VIRUtopia Text
4 robots
Swarm Bot
Fig.4: Swarm Bot
Robots and lasers