Soon, Robo-Bees that Mimic Bees Behavior

Soon, Robo-Bees that Mimic Bees Behavior

WASHINGTON – A Northeastern University neurobiologist is collaborating with Harvard University researchers to develop micro flying robots that will emulate the bees’ brain, body and collective behavior.

Biology professor Joseph Ayers would create robots, called the robobees, which would mimic the communal feeding behavior of bee colonies.

The project will draw on the knowledge of computer scientists, engineers, and biologists to construct an electronic nervous system, a supervisory architecture and a high-energy source to power the innovative robots.

“This project will integrate the efforts and expertise of a diverse team of investigators to create a system that far transcends the sum of its parts. We expect substantial advances in basic science at the intersection of these seemingly disparate disciplines to result from this effort,” said Ayers.

Inspired by the biology of the bee and the insect’s colonial behaviour, the project aims to advance miniature robotics and the design of compact high-energy power sources.

The project would also spur innovations in ultra-low-power computing and electronic “smart” sensors that mediate biomimetic control.

In addition, it would refine coordination algorithms to manage multiple, independent machines.

Ayers is widely known for his work in biomimetics- the science of adapting the control systems found in nature to inform design of engineered systems to solve real-world problems-including the development of RoboLobster and RoboLamprey.

The autonomous, biomimetic underwater robotic models emulate the operations of the animals’ nervous systems using an electronic controller based on nonlinear, moving models of neurons and synapses.

“Animals have evolved to occupy every environmental niche where we would hope to operate robots, save outer space. They provide proven solutions to problems that confound even the most sophisticated robots, and our challenge is to capture these performance advantages in engineered devices,” said Ayers.