Thursday, November 15, 2007

Robot 'pied piper' leads roaches

On the heels on me mentioning th robot bee used to test the Waggle Dane Hypothesis in class, here is another interesting robo-insect interactions! An excerpt:

"A robotic cockroach can act as a 'pied piper' to its flesh-and-blood counterparts, persuading the real insects to hide in unusual places.

European scientists introduced tiny autonomous robots into an "arena" where cockroaches were allowed to run free.

They wanted to see whether the robots would be accepted by the insects and whether they could influence their collective decision-making process.

The results were reported in the academic journal Science.

The robots - built by Jose Halloy, from the Free University in Brussels, Belgium, and colleagues - do not look at all like cockroaches.

But by covering the robots in filter paper infused with cockroach pheromones, the researchers were able to fool the

animals into thinking the automatons were genuine members of their group."

The rest of the article can found here:

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