'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Swarmanoid

My insect project is progressing well, thanks to the input of many of you! (See questionnaire last post).
Here's something that appeared in my inbox this morning. A swarm of robots behaving 'cooperatively'. In many ways it echoes the bee hive/ant nest cooperation and separation of roles that we find so intriguing when watching these creatures. In reality, studies suggest that each insect is probably quite simply 'programmed' to respond - I'm reluctant to use the term 'mindlessly' (because insects can learn) - to a stimulus. For example, in a flock, school or swarm, there is evidence that each creature is only taking notice of about seven others - the ones closest. And the incredible complex behaviour we see - twisting and turning, predator avoidance etc, is actually the result of a relatively small number of cause-and-effect behaviours.

Anyway, I thought this clip was worth sharing. Enjoy.

Source http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20791?DCMP=NLC-nletter&nsref=robot


  1. That was absolutely fascinating. I was mesmerised. I do miss your blog postings!

  2. Good. Glad to mesmerise you Geeb :-D

  3. Scientific conclusions about insect life seem to be based on supposition more than evidence. Besides, you could say that human beings are also "quite simply programmed to respond"

  4. Indeed YP. In fact, much of what scientists suppose about swarming behaviour is based on programming robots.
    Re. humans, yep. See pub, go in, buy drink, see drink, consume. See ball, play rugby. See fat and salt, eat.

  5. PS. Have you booked your flights yet?


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