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 Cells migrate collectively by intermittent bursts of activity
30.09.2016 | Aalto University

nachricht The structure of the BinAB toxin revealed: one small step for Man, a major problem for mosquitoes!
30.09.2016 | CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First-Ever 3D Printed Excavator Project Advances Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing R&D

Heavy construction machinery is the focus of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s latest advance in additive manufacturing research. With industry partners and university students, ORNL researchers are designing and producing the world’s first 3D printed excavator, a prototype that will leverage large-scale AM technologies and explore the feasibility of printing with metal alloys.

Increasing the size and speed of metal-based 3D printing techniques, using low-cost alloys like steel and aluminum, could create new industrial applications...

Im Focus: New welding process joins dissimilar sheets better

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of light metals.
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart have now developed two new process variants that will considerably expand the areas of application for friction stir welding.
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH supports the University of Stuttgart in patenting and marketing its innovations.

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of...

Im Focus: First quantum photonic circuit with electrically driven light source

Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.

Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...

Im Focus: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Paper – Panacea Green Infrastructure?

30.09.2016 | Event News

HLF: From an experiment to an establishment

29.09.2016 | Event News

European Health Forum Gastein 2016 kicks off today

28.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

First-Ever 3D Printed Excavator Project Advances Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing R&D

30.09.2016 | Materials Sciences

New Technique for Finding Weakness in Earth’s Crust

30.09.2016 | Earth Sciences

Cells migrate collectively by intermittent bursts of activity

30.09.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>