Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Learning Bee-havior

A Northeastern University neurobiologist will bring his expertise in animal robotics to a five-year, $10 million National Science Foundation (NSF) Expeditions research project to develop robobees that mimic the communal feeding behavior of bee colonies.

Biology professor Joseph Ayers will collaborate with a team of researchers from Harvard University to develop micro flying robots with the technology to emulate the bees’ brain, body and collective behavior.

The project will draw on the knowledge of computer scientists, engineers and biologists to construct an electronic nervous system, a supervisory architecture and a high-energy source to power the innovative robots.

“This project will integrate the efforts and expertise of a diverse team of investigators to create a system that far transcends the sum of its parts,” said Ayers, who is a principal researcher at Northeastern’s Marine Science Center. “We expect substantial advances in basic science at the intersection of these seemingly disparate disciplines to result from this effort.”

Inspired by the biology of the bee and the insect’s colonial behavior, the project aims to advance miniature robotics and the design of compact high-energy power sources; spur innovations in ultra-low-power computing and electronic “smart” sensors that mediate biomimetic control; and refine coordination algorithms to manage multiple, independent machines.

Ayers is widely known for his work in biomimetics— the science of adapting the control systems found in nature to inform design of engineered systems to solve real-world problems—including the development of RoboLobster and RoboLamprey. The autonomous, biomimetic underwater robotic models emulate the operations of the animals’ nervous systems using an electronic controller based on nonlinear, moving models of neurons and synapses.

“Animals have evolved to occupy every environmental niche where we would hope to operate robots, save outer space,” said Ayers. “They provide proven solutions to problems that confound even the most sophisticated robots, and our challenge is to capture these performance advantages in engineered devices.”

Ayers will work in collaboration with Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and CentEye, Inc., funded by the NSF’s Expeditions in Computing program. Established last year by the NSF Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), the program provides funding for researchers to pursue ambitious, fundamental projects that hold the promise to redefine the future of computing and information. For more information about the Expeditions project, visit

Jenny Catherine Eriksen | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>