Steven Ceron

Current Institution: Cornell University


Bio: Steven Ceron is a Ph.D. candidate at Cornell University where he focuses on low-level coordination mechanisms that enable diverse emergent collective behaviors at the macro-scale and micron scale. He is interested in enabling robots with limited actuation, sensing, and processing capabilities to work in teams by exploiting their morphology and the physical interactions with each other and the environment to carry out complex functions that would otherwise be difficult or impossible with a single agent. His major research topics include soft robotics, microrobotics, swarm intelligence, and coupled oscillators. His work is being published in a variety of venues and has been highlighted in multiple media outlets including National Geographic and IEEE Spectrum. He is the recipient of the Fulbright Germany Scholarship, which allowed him to study microrobot collectives at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, the Cornell Colman Fellowship, and the National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship.

Abstract: Swarms Across Length Scales with Local-to-Global Behaviors

Collectives in nature demonstrate behaviors that extend far beyond the capabilities of any single agent. I argue that regardless of the length scale, we can use principles like local-to-global behaviors, low-level communication, plasticity, and simple constituents to exploit robot morphology, physical interactions among agents, and low-level coordination mechanisms to enable diverse collective behaviors for useful functions in many fields. I present novel emergent collective behaviors at the macro-scale and micron scale and explain how each behavior arises as a function of agents interacting with other agents, agents reacting to their environment, and agents exploiting their environment to affect other agents. Specifically, I demonstrate cell-inspired, macro-scale soft robot collectives for distributed systems with coupled sensing and actuation, magnetic microrobot collectives with reconfigurable behaviors and functions for environmental remediation and small-scale self-assembly applications, and cross-scale coordination mechanisms through virtual swarming coupled oscillators for macro- and micro-scale collective control applications.