i n v e s t i g a t o r s :
Keith Evan Green (PI)
Design & Mech. E, Cornell
Johnell Brooks

Hum. Factors Psy./AutoE, Clemson
Mengni Zhang
PhD student, DEA, Cornell

s t u d e n t   t e a m :

Mark Worsley
MEng, MAE, Cornell
Olivia Roberts
MEng, MAE, Cornell
Jackson Hardin
BS, Mech. E, Cornell
Jilly Jiaqi Cai

MEng, MAE, Cornell


SORT [Self-Organizing Robot Team]
Multi-Agent System of Wall Climbing Robots Supporting Independent Living

o v e r v i e w :
We rely on horizontal surfaces such as desks, cabinets and shelves for storing and organizing our belongings. Maintaining an organized lifestyle is an important daily routine that reduces the negative mental and physical effects caused by cluttering. When poorly managed, domestic items can be difficult to find, causing frustration and cluttering which negatively impact our physical and mental wellness. Manifestations of this negative impact include a reduction in working memory, an increase in stress, and difficulty in object identification.

A messy environment can be especially challenging for people with various forms of impairment, including older adults with mild cognitive impairment, patients recovering at home needing medication management, high-functioning individuals on the autism spectrum, and people of all ages that have mobility challenges due to an accident or otherwise.

SORT (“Self-Organizing Robot Team”) is a multi-agent system of wall-climbing robots for supporting independent living by helping users organize domestic items along vertical surfaces. SORT suggests how assistive technologies leverage our everyday physical environments to perform functional tasks towards improving users’ overall wellness. SORT is part of an emerging trend, advanced by the Architectural Robotics Lab, of research in tangible and embedded interaction within homes, workplaces, classrooms, and healthcare facilities.

SORT concept [video]

SORT working prototype 2

SORT video for RO-MAN 2021 [video]; very first demo [video]


Mengni Zhang, Jackson Hardin, Jiaqi Cai, Johnell Brooks and Keith Evan
Green. [In Press]. Self-Organizing Robot Team (SORT): A Multi-Robot, Wall Climbing Organizer-and-Delivery System for Living Spaces. Adaptive Environments (book series), Springer.

M. Zhang, T. Xu, J. Hardin, J. Jiaqi Cai, J. Brooks and K. E. Green, "How Many Robots Do You Want? A Cross-Cultural Exploration on User Preference and Perception of an Assistive Multi-Robot System," 2021 30th IEEE International Conference on Robot & Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), 2021, pp. 580-585, doi: 10.1109/RO-MAN50785.2021.9515396.