Bio-inspired Robotics (BOTS)


The BOTS lab's main focus is swarm robotics, which is the study of how groups of relatively simple robots can work together to solve problems. Our projects often involve proposing control algorithms for robots which are then tested in simulation. In most cases, we also try and apply these algorithms to real robots. The theme of our work is to develop robots that restructure their environment towards some desired state. This could involve organizing a disorganized environment by sorting objects into clusters. It could also involve building a structure. The long-term goal is to develop robots that can assist people in their homes and workplaces.

To learn more about BOTS, click here.


  • Dr. Andrew Vardy (Department of ECE and Computer Science)
    • Swarm robotics
    • Biologically inspired robotics
  • Dr. Todd Wareham (Department of Computer Science)
    • Complexity theory
    • Design and analysis of algorithms
    • Combinatorial optimization
    • Approximation algorithms and heuristics
    • Cognitive science
    • Computational biology
    • Theoretical computer science


We have several generations of small autonomous robots, largely based on the Raspberry Pi computer. We also have a small swarm (6) of autonomous surface vehicles suitable for indoor studies of marine robotics.

  • 12 Kodama robots
    Each Kodama combines a Raspberry Pi computer and a Pololu 3pi robot base.
  • 6 microUSV robots
    These are unmanned surface vehicles (USV) that operate on the surface of an indoor tank.
  • 4 Canary robots
    Each Canary combines a Pixy intelligent camera and a Pololu Zumo 32U4 robot base.
Robot operating surfaces

A table where the robots drive over a large-screen television that can project patterns upwards to guide their movements.
A stadium-shaped table (makes life easier for robots since there are no corners!).

Miscellaneous equipment
  • Decawave localization system
  • Intel RealSense D435 cameras
  • Hokuyo lidars. Soldering station
  • Tools and other hardware


Core Science Facility
Memorial University of Newfoundland 
St. John's, NL