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Science & Technology

Scientists develop robot translator enables bees and fish to talk for first time

Friday 22/March/2019 - 11:14 AM
File photo
File photo

Most of us already know about the birds and the bees، but a recent scientific riff puts a spin on the old adage، daily mail reported. 

Scientists have found a way to allow communication between a group of two normally separate species -- fish and bees -- employing the use of specially designed robotic interpreters. 

Using a combination of embedded robotic 'spies' and terminals -- one in a colony of bees and the other، a swimming animatronic robot، among a school of fish -- researchers were able to capture signals from the two disparate species and translate them into a language that each could understand. 

 

While a terminal inside the bees' colony communicated by fluctuating air temperature، movement، and vibrations، the robot spy embedded in the school of fish changed its color، speed، and movements. 

As a result، the bees began to swarm outside of their terminal while the fish started to change their swimming patterns، going counterclockwise. 

'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.'

Though the prospect of unusual pairs of species communicating seems like more of a fun exercise than actual science، researchers say the application of the feat does have real applications in the world of biological research. 

'It’s the first time that people are using this kind of technology to have two different species communicate with each other،' Simon Garnier، a complex systems biologist at the New Jersey Institute of Technology، told The Scientist.

'It’s a proof of concept that you can have robots mediate interactions between distant groups.' 

In particular، scientists say the benefits of the research is twofold. 

The findings could help robotics engineers understand and adapt ways of capturing biological signals of certain animal groups.

Additionally، the data could help further understanding of how certain animals interact and why. 

In a more futuristic bend to the study، the advances in this type of robot technology could also help develop certain kinds of artificially intelligent robots that biologists could use to help shape animals' lives for the better. 

Specifically، the technology could help steer animals away from polluted areas or other harmful outcomes. 

ANIMAL-ROBOT INTERFACE 
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.

Edited by: Yara Sameh

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