Using robots to probe colony function

Using robots to probe colony function

Our collaborators at the University of Pennsylvania have also devised a simple robotic ant that successfully recruits real Temnothorax rugatulus via tandem runs. The artificial ant is a small magnetic dummy dabbed with the ants’ own recruitment pheromone. A larger robot is connected to it by a magnetic tether and can steer the dummy on predetermined paths. We are using this tool to manipulate information exchange among a colony’s members as it carries out a collective choice of nest site. We are also using it to determine how tandem run followers learn visual landmarks that enable them later to retrace the followed path on their own.

Skills

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January 9, 2015