Researchers from two U.K. universities, the University of Sheffield and the University of Sussex, are embarking on one of the most exciting projects in robotics. They are attempting to scan the brains of bees and upload the data into the incredibly small robots they have developed, with the hopes that the machines will fly and behave like real bees. For years now, researchers have been studying the brains of mice and rats to unlock the secrets of how these small creatures move and behave, but this is the first time that bees have been the focus of such in-depth research. CNET reports:
The goal of the project is to create the first robots able to act on instinct. Researchers hope to implant a honey bee’s sense of smell and sight into the flying machines, allowing the robots to act as autonomously as an insect rather than relying on preprogrammed instructions. Possible applications for the bionic bee include search and rescue missions at sites such as collapsed mines, detecting chemical or gas leaks, and even pollinating plants just like a real bee.
The project which is nicknamed “Green Brain” is funded by the U.K.’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council with technical help from IBM and hardware donated by Nvidia. To learn more about how these social insects and their advanced cognitive abilities led to this exciting project, you can read the full story at CNET. And in related news, if you have not yet seen the video of a swarm of quadrotor robots developed by the University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP Laboratory you can check it out below, as well as read the full story in the following link.