Robobee Learns The Waggle Dance

A special robotic bee is trying to emulate the waggle dance used by actual bees to communicate with each other.


(Robobee Learns The Waggle Dance)

The waggle dance follows something like a figure-eight pattern. The middle part of the eight (called the waggle run) is oriented relative to gravity at the same angle the bees should fly relative to the sun in order to get to the food. The speed of the dance is thought to communicate the distance. It's basic geometry: Once the bees know the angle to fly and the distance, they can find the food.

So far, however, the robotic bee has not succeeded in communicating the location of food. Researchers at the Free University of Berlin are still working on basic bee mechanics, like buzzing wings, sufficient body heat and legs for creating vibrations.

SF fans recall the early example created by Raymond Z. Gallun in his 1936 story The Scarab; the scarab flying robot insect was good enough to fool other insects.

Via The Atlantic.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/30/2011)

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