This paper proposes an artificial pheromone communication system inspired by social insects. The proposed model is an extension of the previously developed pheromone communication system, COS-_. The new model increases COS-Φ flexibility by adding two new features, namely, diffusion and advection. The proposed system consists of an LCD flat screen that is placed horizontally, overhead digital camera to track mobile robots, which move on the screen, and a computer, which simulates the pheromone behaviour and visualises its spatial distribution on the LCD. To investigate the feasibility of the proposed pheromone system, real microrobots, Colias, were deployed which mimicked insects’ role in tracking the pheromone sources. The results showed that, unlike the COS-Φ, the proposed system can simulate the impact of environmental characteristics, such as temperature, atmospheric pressure or wind, on the spatio-temporal distribution of the pheromone. Thus, the system allows studying behaviours of pheromone-based robotic swarms in various real-world conditions.

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