Robot Roaches in Seduction Mode
This is why science is so cool. Robot cockroaches infiltrating a bug community and then getting the bugs to do stuff.
This experiment in bug peer pressure combined entomology, robotics and the study of ways that complex and even intelligent patterns can arise from simple behavior. Animal behavior research shows that swarms working together can prosper where individuals might fail, and robotics researchers have been experimenting with simple robots that, together, act a little like a swarm.
“We decided to join the two approaches,” said José Halloy, a biology researcher at the Free University of Brussels and lead author of a paper describing the research in today’s issue of the journal Science.
Dr. Halloy and his colleagues worked with roaches because their societies are simple, egalitarian and democratic, with none of the social stratification seen in some other insect societies — no queen bees, no worker ants. “Cockroaches are not like that,” Dr. Halloy said. “They live all together.”
They also have weak eyes, which allowed the researchers to create a robotic roach that resembles a miniature golf cart more than an insect. In the roach world, however, looking right is not as important as smelling right, and the scientists doused the machines with eau de cockroach sex hormones.
According to the Times, Halloy now plans to see if he can subvert chickens using larger droids.
Sure - chickens.
“We are not interested in people,” he added, unconvincingly.