One of the most satisfying parts of this job is seeing others take your work and go further. In this case, Benedikt Fuß, who spent time with me at Auburn and who is now a research associate at the Institute for Material Handling and Logistics at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, has improved the GridStore algorithm by adding asynchronous control.
As originally conceived, GridStore operates in stepwise fashion, with each conveyor module deciding its action and taking it according to a shared clock. An admitted weaknesses of that work was our failure to explain exactly how synchronization would be implemented in modules without a centralized controller. Enter Benedikt’s asynchronous modification, in which modules operate independently and without a common clock, yet seem to synchronize on their own. Notice the slight variations of timing among the modules in the video below:
Do I even need to say how satisfying it is to see this work implemented in a real system? Here’s hoping these ideas someday are applied in industry. Then, I retire.