The Droplets are an experimental platform for large-scale swarming research. The Droplet’s hard- and software is open source.
There is a publicly accessible git repository hosted on Google code with all of the hardware schematics/layout and source code for both the simulator and the hardware.  Follow us on Twitter to stay tuned @correlllab.

Main features of the Droplets are:
  • Unlimited running time without stopping to recharge (they get power from the floor through their legs)
  • Omnidirectional motion (6 linear directions and turn-in-place)
  • Directional communication with user-settable communication range from <1cm to >1m
  • Range & Bearing sensing
  • True-color, full-body illumination
  • RGB color sensing
  • Self-righting
  • Droplet-to-droplet reprogramming
  • Expandable RAM / Flash
The Arena has:
  • Powered floor
  • Bidirectional IR communication with Droplets
  • In-situ IR Droplet programming
  • Projector for creating virtual environments
  • Cameras for Droplet tracking
The Simulator provides:
  • Real-time simulation of thousands of Droplets
  • Realistic physics using the Bullet physics library
  • Cross-compilation between hardware and simulator
  • Documentation for the simulator is available here.


  • Dustin Reishus
  • Nicholas Farrow
  • Anshul Kanakia


  • This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1150223 and a NSF/CRA CI Fellowship to Dr. Dustin Reishus.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation

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One Response to Droplets

  1. […] of other planets. The University of Colorado Correll Lab is experimenting with robotic “Droplets” that mimic the swarming behaviour of bees or ants, an approach that could well be applied to […]

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