Robot Uses Honeybee-Like Artificial Brain to Navigate Environment


Using the relatively simple nervous system of the honeybee as a model, researchers from the Free University of Berlin (FU Berlin) have demonstrated a robot that perceives environmental stimuli and learns to react to them. They installed a camera on a small robotic vehicle and connected it to a computer, and a computer program replicated in a simplified way the sensorimotor network of the insect brain. The input data came from the camera that received and projected visual information. The neural network, in turn, operated the motors of the robot wheels - and could thus control its motion direction. "The network-controlled robot is able to link certain external stimuli with behavioral rules," says Martin Paul Nawrot, professor of neuroscience at FU Berlin. "Much like honeybees learn to associate certain flower colors with tasty nectar, the robot learns to approach certain colored objects and to avoid others.