Scientists develop robotic ants.
Scientists believe we can build better information networks by learning from ants.
A BBC report recently covered a team of scientists that has designed robotic ants.
Although the machines don’t look like ants, they are programmed to communicate and act together, similar to an ant colony.
Their programming requires the robots to move forward and avoid obstacles, finding the fastest way through a maze.
According to Simon Garnier, one of the researchers from the New Jersey Institute of Technology: “By themselves, each robot would just move around randomly and get lost... but they are able to work together and communicate.”
By following light cues, like how ants follow pheromone chemicals, the robots are able to guide each other.
Garnier said: “Because ants taking the shorter path travel faster, the amount of pheromone deposited on that path grows faster, so more ants use that path."
There have been many new technologies in the field of biomimicry that were inspired by animals, or the natural world.
For instance, the San Diego Zoo has launched the Centre for Bioinspiration. It focuses on scientific research involving products that are inspired by animal characteristics or anatomy.