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Scientists Use Robotic Animals to Learn About Real Ones


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Robobee, center, amid many other bees.

Researchers can move Robobee (center) and vibrate its plastic wing to simulate the "waggle dance" that honeybees use to tell their hive mates where to locate food sources.

Credit: Tim Landgraf

Scientists are using robots that realistically interact with animals, to gain insights into the animals’ social dynamics.

The University of Rochester's Dora Biro said, "If you can build a robot that you can embed in a group of animals as a stooge, and they accept that robot as one of them, then you can make the robot do things and see how real animals respond."

Researchers at Germany's Free University of Berlin built Robobee, a life-size bee replica that can mimic its real-world counterparts' movements and vibrations, and direct them to food sources.

Investigators at Germany's Humboldt University of Berlin inserted three-dimensionally-printed Robofish into a school of guppies, which responded to it as if it were a real fish.



From Smithsonian
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Abstracts Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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