Display Swarm

Project Members

Paul Beardsley (Disney Research Zurich)
Javier Alonso Mora (ETH Zurich and Disney Research, Zurich)
Andreas Breitenmoser (ETH Zurich)
Martin Rufli (ETH Zurich)
Prof. Dr. Roland Siegwart (ETH Zurich)


Display Swarm is a new kind of display composed of a mobile robot swarm. Each robot acts as an individual pixel and has controllable color. We use the swarm to make representational images and animated movies.

Our first prototype system had 14 robots, sufficient to generate basic graphics and providing a test-bed for research on robot collision avoidance and localization. This research also addressed the unusual requirement of achieving visually appealing motion of the robots. The latest prototype system has 75 robots, with magnetic wheels for deployment on a vertical surface to provide better visibility.

Swarm images are a novel concept that raises basic questions about how to best represent an image with a finite number of movable pixels, and current research is investigating swarm graphics and interaction.
“Reciprocal Collision Avoidance for Multiple Car-like Robots”

Movie [see embedded link below]

“DisplaySwarm: A robot swarm displaying images”[BiBTeX]

“Multi-Robot System for Artistic Pattern Formation”[BiBTeX]

Movie [see embedded link below]

“Optimal Reciprocal Collision Avoidance for Multiple Non-Holonomic Robots” [BiBTeX]

Movie [see embedded link below]


Reciprocal Collision Avoidance for Multiple Car-like Robots
May 1, 2012
IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), May 2012
Paper File [pdf, 1.17 MB]

DisplaySwarm: A robot swarm displaying images
October 1, 2011
IEEE/RSJ Int. Conf. on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Symposium: Robot Demonstrations, October 2011
Paper File [pdf, 159.30 kB]

Multi-Robot System for Artistic Pattern Formation
May 1, 2011
Proc. of IEEE Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation, May 2011
Paper File [pdf, 920.02 kB]

Optimal Reciprocal Collision Avoidance for Multiple Non-Holonomic Robots
November 1, 2010
Proc. of the 10th Int. Symp. on Distributed Autonomous Robotic Systems, November 2010
Paper File [pdf, 1.68 MB]

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