Are Bee Robots Smarter Than Their Real Life Insect Counterparts?

Are Bee Robots Smarter Than Their Real Life Insect Counterparts?

Bees are exceptionally rational and work cooperatively to get tasks done. Could Bee inspired robots do the same?

Libby Garrett
  • 4 october 2012

Two projects have researchers busily studying the inner workings of bees’ brains to advance both artificial intelligence (AI) systems and robotics sophistication.

In the first project, called Green Brain, researchers at the Universities of Sussex and Sheffield are mapping out the inner workings of a bee’s brain to advance AI computer modelling.  Zeroing in on the parts of bee’s brains responsible for vision and smell, the project is hoping to advance AI systems that respond to sensory signals and act autonomously.


In the second project, RoboBeesresearchers at Harvard University are building micro robots that mimic the group action and decision making characteristics of colony behavior.  Pushing advances in robotics, low power computing, electronic smart sensors and coordination algorithms that manage multiple, independent machines, RoboBees are small, agile robots that reliably and efficiently accomplish complex tasks.

In addition to developing brain mapping capacities, both projects have applications in search and rescue, weather mapping, traffic monitoring, hazardous environment exploration and military surveillance.

As a species, bees are understood to exhibit a high degree of rationality and group cooperativeness.  Creating AI and robotics modelled after bees brains may prove to be a more effective route to getting tasks done than imitating human brain behavior.

University Of Sheffield  // Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences



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