How Tiny Robots Are Teaching Big Lessons And May Complete Big Jobs

When certain jobs are completed efficiently and successfully in the natural world, it’s hard not to draw inspiration and attempt to apply those solutions to human problems. Biomimicry has helped us develop some impressive technologies, especially in the field of robotics.  When biology and engineering merge, you can get some impressive developments, including these small, four-wheeled robots that may help us develop robots that work together as a highly organized and efficient team. And just as we apply nature to human technology, the process can also help us learn more about our inspiration source—in this case, leaf cutter ants.

Antlike robots might help explain origins of cooperation | Science/AAAS

 sn-robots_2Image Source:  Science AAAS

“…a team of roboticists has managed to emulate the cooperation strategy of leafcutter ants with computer simulations of small, four-wheeled robots. The result could lead to swarms of robots that team up and organize with minimal human intervention and could shed light on how cooperation evolved in animals.”

While much of the research had to be carried out in digital simulations, due to limitations involved in building and running miniature robots to imitate multiple generations of leaf cutter ants, it was revealed that an orderly system soon developed without preset roles being established by humans. If this could be duplicated with physical robots, imagine the potential applications.

Share your thoughts on this robotics and biology research in the comments.