Most of us already know about the birds and the bees, but a recent scientific riff puts a spin on the old adage.Scientists have found a way to communicate between a group of two typically separate species – fish and bees – using robotic interpreters specially designed.
Using a combination of embedded robotic ‘ spies ‘ and terminals — one in a colony of bees and the other, a swimming animatronic robot among a fish school — researchers were able to capture and translate signals from the two disparate species into a language that each could understand.
While a terminal communicated through fluctuating air temperature, movement, and vibrations within the bees ‘ colony, the robot spy embedded in the fish school changed its color, speed, and movement. As a result, the bees started swarming outside their terminal as the fish began to change their swimming patterns in the counterclockwise direction.
‘The robots acted as if they were negotiators and interpreters in an international conference,’ Francesco Mondada, a professor at BioRob, told TechXplore. ‘Through the various information exchanges, the two groups of animals gradually came to a shared decision.’
While the prospect of unusual communicating species pairs appears to be more of a fun exercise than actual science, researchers say that the application of the feat has real applications in the world of biological research. Scientists in particular say that the research benefits are twofold. The findings could help robotics engineers understand and adapt ways in which certain animal groups can capture biological signals.
Furthermore, the data could help to further understand how and why certain animals interact. The advances in this type of robot technology could also help develop certain types of artificially intelligent robots that could be used by biologists to help shape the lives of animals for the better in a more futuristic bend to the study. The technology could specifically help steer animals away from contaminated areas or other harmful outcomes.
Robots embedded in both environments were able to take in bio information from both groups.
The machines then translated those signals into information that either could understand.
After a while, both the bees and the fish started to respond to the information triggered by the other and adapt behavior.