Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How bees shop

26.08.2003


What can bees teach us about speed shopping?


Does trading off speed for accuracy pay?


"Bumblebees have been shown to have very fine colour vision – which they can use to find up to 5,000 flowers a day," says says Melbourne scientist Adrian Dyer who first made the observations whilst working in Germany.

Adrian’s study published in Nature casts light on how they do it – and may help us to learn from the bees how to design robot eyes in the future.



Adrian is presenting his research to the public for the first time thanks to Fresh Science, a British Council sponsored programme to bring public attention to the remarkable unsung achievements of young Australian scientists.

“We tested bumblebees in a colour discrimination task on a virtual flower meadow – when bees were punished for making mistakes, they slowed down and performed even better.”

We showed that some bees consistently make rapid choices but with low precision, while other bees are slow but highly accurate,” says Adrian.

“Moreover, individual bees sacrifice speed in favour of accuracy when errors are not just unrewarded, but penalised with aversive quinine reinforcement. This is the first demonstration of between-individual and within-individual speed-accuracy tradeoffs in an insect. It shows that bees can be trained to perform very difficult tasks.”

We also discovered that bees can discriminate between blue colours just as well as we can – if they learn to take their time.’ Once we thought bees could only see 100 colours – in fact their vision is as good as or better than ours. They’ve also got an amazing sense of smell.

Bees can also see ultraviolet colours. This is a capacity that we don’t have – humans have ultraviolet filters in our eyes. Adrian thinks that this is a trade off for colour constancy – our ability to adjust our perception of colour independent of external lighting.

Why should we care about bee vision? By studying bees we can learn about our own vision and gain insights into how we might design vision systems for robots and other machines. Bees are also essential pollinators for many agricultural crops and have potential as drug and bomb detectors. And I think it’s worth understanding how bee vision works for the sheer wonder of it. They are remarkable creatures.”

Adrian is now researching face recognition at La Trobe University in Melbourne Australia.

Niall Byrne | alfa
Further information:
http://www.freshscience.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

nachricht Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>