United Kingdom Spearheads Bionic Bee Research

The University of Sheffield and the University of Sussex are conducting a joint research in an attempt to come up with “bionic bees” by simply scanning the nectar-sucking insect’s brain and uploading the data gathered into autonomous flying robots, Cnet reported last week.

According to reports on Cnet.com Sunday, researchers and engineers from two universities are working together to create bionic bees, which seems more like a sci-fi idea than realistic science.

The research’s goal is to make a first robot with the ability to act on insect. Engineers are trying to create an autonomous flying machine possessing the sense of smell and sight of a honey bee.

The research is hoping that the success of their research project will lead to even bigger breakthroughs such as using the flying machine in search and rescue operations at narrow places like collapsed mines, sites with gas and chemical leaks, and pollination.

“The development of an artificial brain is one of the greatest challenges in artificial intelligence. So far, researchers have typically studied brains such as those of rats, monkeys, and humans, but actually ‘simpler’ organism such as social insects have surprisingly advanced cognitive abilities,” said James Marshall, who’s spearheading the $1.61 million research study.

The research is also aimed to find out animal and human cognition and answers question behind brain’s cognitive system.

“Not only will this pave the way for many future advances in autonomous flying robots. But we also believe the computer modeling techniques we will be using will be widely useful to other brain modeling and computational neuroscience projects,” said Sussex team leader Thomas Noworthy, who’s targeting to launch their bionic bees concept in 2015.

The research project dubbed as Green Brain is being bankrolled by the U.K.’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council with the cooperation of IBM and Nvidia.

Via: Cnet