To: Jason Ellis
From: Daniel Lawrence
Subject: 500-Word Summary by Wood, Nagpal and Wei “Flight of the Robo-bees”
Finding an article or news piece of what has been done already is one thing, but what’s more interesting is the news stories on what is to come. The purpose of this memo is to provide readers feedback of this academic journal entry. Members from Harvard University report on their status and hopes for creating a network hive of robotic bees under the article title “Flight of the Robo-bees” in Scientific American. This memo is to discuss How it works, Complications on creating a larger scale of a hive network and mainly their brain behind its creation.
After reading the article published by Scientific American the University went down an interesting path of looking how actual flies operate with their sensory capabilities in hopes of doing something similar with these robotic bees. This aspect posing one of the most significant problems was thought to have been avoided by programing a visual system into the bees brain to map out 3-D map of its environment. Based on the article, the plan for creating the sensory component was concluded to use hardware accelerators that will allow for the bees to complete specific pre-desired task. Including something of this magnitude however may cause issues with the individuals bee miniscule body. It’s evident that the group attempting this invention thinks outside the box based on the different avenues that has been explored for the creation of the brain.
Proceeding forward now realizing the difficulty of effectively programing one robo-bee, the team takes on creating a whole hive or network of bees. The path through this the team choose was to create a programing language thats viable for colonies. One way they choose to do so was to create an impromptu language incorporating something called the Karma system. This kind of system is something thats new to me, apparently it’s best described as the stimuli taken from each individual thats sent to the hive in order to adjust the hive’s behavior.
“Swarms of small, agile and potentially disposable robots can enable many new applications — pollination, for example, or search and rescue in a disaster scenario — that are not possible with individual robots.” ( Wood, Nagpal and Wei. Mar2013. p60-65). This quote from the report really reenforce the limitless applications for undergoing a project like this. Not only for the purpose rescue in disaster scenarios as was mentioned, in addition these bees could be beneficial in the medical field or transportation in a drastic way. However as of now things for the team are just getting started and those applications may prove to be to much for right now. Progress made on the other hand appears to be moving forward as the team holds an open view on different ways the bees can be effective.
So far the teams tangible goal for these bees is to pollinate fields based on the report. So for now they are focused on the communication between bees.
This article proved beneficial because it showed that projects as unique as this aren’t stoping however are tackled by members of a university.
References; Wood.R , Nagpal.R , Wei.G. (Mar 2013). Flight of the RoboBees. Scientific American, Vol. 308 Issue 3, p60-65. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.citytech.ezproxy.cuny.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=7&sid=5a682085-463c-41aa-b27b-f80504de1789%40sessionmgr4007&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#anchor=AN0085941834-17&AN=85941834&db=a9h