Termites inspire researchers to develop robotic construction workers without Leader

With the advancement of science and technology, robots are making the human work easy and smooth. You have seen these man-made creatures exploring the space, landing on the planets and getting pictures for you. But have you ever imagined them constructing a home for you.

Just imagine a fleet of robotic construction workers building big buildings, small homes and other structures and that too autonomously, harmoniously and most importantly without any supervision.

A team of researchers from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, both in Cambridge, Mass., are designing just this sort of robotic construction crew.


Researchers say, they took inspiration from the termites who form groups to build complex mounds of soil hundreds of times their size and that too without any detailed blueprints for the structures.

Study lead author Justin Werfel, a researcher at the Wyss Institute, said, “We learned the incredible things these tiny insects can build. Fantastic. Now how do we create and program robots that work in similar ways but build what humans want?”

Scientists tool four years to design these robots. These are the latest innovation in what computer scientists and robotics researchers call swarm intelligence.

While demonstrating the robots at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago on Thursday Werfel said, “Every robot acts independently, but together they will end up building what you want.”

The scientists term this invention a giant step in swarm intelligence, a field in which scientists are exploring ways to enable large groups of simple robots or flying drones to collaborate.

  • John Wilson

    Autonomous means without supervision. Grab a clue…or a dictionary..

    • Targey1

      Autonomous simply means it does the process by itself. It is very possible for an autonomous system to operate by itself, while also being supervised by a party not directly involved in the process.

  • Ralph Boggs

    So we dont need humans anymore? What about jobs?
    How are people going to live if a robot does all the work?

    • PeteEllis

      Someone needs to make sure the robots work and adapt them to different kinds of work. Having worker robots means humans can do things they never could before , like building human habitats on the moon, mars or under water. Open ocean aquaculture becomes possible with aquatic worker robots. truly flexible worker robots will creat a new golden age for mankind!