A new project is being developed in Europe for intelligent robots to learn the language of animals and thereby collaborate in caring for the environment, especially to protect bees from pesticides.
The Austrian team of scientists ASSISIBF (Animal and Robot Societes Self-organization and Integrate by Social Interaction -bees and fish-) has as its main objective to establish a robotic society that learns by itself to develop communication channels for animal societies -specifically from bees and fish-.
How would these robots work?
The robots "will adapt using evolutionary algorithms until they have learned to interact with animals in the desired way." So that the robots can interact with the animals, they have programmed them to emit "vibrations, changes in air flows and variations in temperature." In the case of bees, for example, they would be attracted to these stimuli and during the approach the machines would automatically learn the social behaviors of the insect.
Scientists hope their tiny robots may one day help protect bees, currently under heavy environmental pressure.
The team's biologist Martina Szopek explains with an example how the system will work: “Suppose we have a long period of rain in summer or cold weather, which may mean that the bees do not have enough to eat. If we knew it in advance, from the robots, we could, for example, regulate the queen so that she lays fewer eggs and have fewer young so that the offspring that are already there can be cared for in a better way before there is cannibalism ”. In this way, robots could detect the presence of pesticides or pollutants and warn of the danger to which they are exposed.
Researchers build unique hives almost every day. The wax panels are installed on top of a fleet of small robots equipped with sensors. Complex algorithms inspired by biology help these robots send different physical stimuli to animals. The researchers then study the bees' reaction. "Once we have the connection between animals and the computer, we can observe the flow of information much closer and discover how bees store information, how they communicate it, how they filter information and everything that leads to a greater understanding of these societies animals ”, explains Thomas Schmickl, biologist at the University of Graz and coordinator of the ASSISIBF project.
The next step of the project is to program the robots to somehow autonomously imitate the social behavior learned during their exchanges with the bees. We try to reproduce this example of collective swarm intelligence in robots, ”says biologist Martin Stefanec.
The welfare, protection and productivity of bee colonies could be vastly improved, according to the researchers.
Similar research is currently underway on fish species. In addition to environmental protection, the scientists hope that their work will have an impact on the management of fisheries and livestock, as well as agriculture.
With information from: