Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




ROBO SPACE
Smart swarms of bacteria inspire robotics researchers
by Staff Writers
Tel Aviv, Israel (SPX) Nov 22, 2011


Simulated interacting agents collectively navigate towards a target. Credit: American Friends of Tel Aviv University (AFTAU).

Much to humans' chagrin, bacteria have superior survival skills. Their decision-making processes and collective behaviors allow them to thrive and even spread efficiently in difficult environments.

Now researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed a computational model that better explains how bacteria move in a swarm - and this model can be applied to man-made technologies, including computers, artificial intelligence, and robotics. Ph.D. student Adi Shklarsh - with her supervisor Prof. Eshel Ben-Jacob of TAU's Sackler School of Physics and Astronomy, Gil Ariel from Bar Ilan University and Elad Schneidman from the Weizmann Institute of Science - has discovered how bacteria collectively gather information about their environment and find an optimal path to growth, even in the most complex terrains.

Studying the principles of bacteria navigation will allow researchers to design a new generation of smart robots that can form intelligent swarms, aid in the development of medical micro-robots used to diagnose or distribute medications in the body, or "de-code" systems used in social networks and throughout the Internet to gather information on consumer behaviors.

The research was recently published in PLoS Computational Biology.

A dash of bacterial self-confidence
Bacteria aren't the only organisms that travel in swarms, says Shklarsh. Fish, bees, and birds also exhibit collective navigation. But as simple organisms with less sophisticated receptors, bacteria are not as well-equipped to deal with large amounts of information or "noise" in the complex environments they navigate, such as human tissue.

The assumption has been, she says, that bacteria would be at a disadvantage compared to other swarming organisms.

But in a surprising discovery, the researchers found that computationally, bacteria actually have superior survival tactics, finding "food" and avoiding harm more easily than swarms such as amoeba or fish. Their secret? A liberal amount of self-confidence.

Many animal swarms, Shklarsh explains, can be harmed by "erroneous positive feedback," a common side effect of navigating complex terrains. This occurs when a subgroup of the swarm, based on wrong information, leads the entire group in the wrong direction. But bacteria communicate differently, through molecular, chemical and mechanical means, and can avoid this pitfall.

Based on confidence in their own information and decisions, "bacteria can adjust their interactions with their peers," Prof. Ben-Jacob says.

"When an individual bacterium finds a more beneficial path, it pays less attention to the signals from the other cells. But at other times, upon encountering challenging paths, the individual cell will increase its interaction with the other cells and learn from its peers. Since each of the cells adopts the same strategy, the group as a whole is able to find an optimal trajectory in an extremely complex terrain."

Benefitting from short-term memory
In the computer model developed by the TAU researchers, bacteria decreased their peers' influence while navigating in a beneficial direction, but listened to each other when they sensed they were failing.

This is not only a superior way to operate, but a simple one as well. Such a model shows how a swarm can perform optimally with only simple computational abilities and short term memory, says Shklarsh, It's also a principle that can be used to design new and more efficient technologies.

Robots are often required to navigate complex environments, such as terrains in space, deep in the sea, or the online world, and communicate their findings among themselves. Currently, this is based on complex algorithms and data structures that use a great deal of computer resources.

Understanding the secrets of bacteria swarms, Shklarsh concludes, can provide crucial hints towards the design of new generation robots that are programmed to perform adjustable interactions without taking up a great amount of data or memory.

.


Related Links
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
All about the robots on Earth and beyond!






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ROBO SPACE
Space Florida and Lockheed Martin Collaborate for Underwater Vehicle Program
Palm Beach FL (SPX) Nov 21, 2011
Space Florida and Lockheed Martin have signed an agreement to advance the testing and production of a new autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) known as Marlin in support of aerospace economic development in the state of Florida. Lockheed Martin will outfit the Marlin systems with sophisticated sensors and imaging equipment to conduct commercial underwater inspections. The systems are ... read more


ROBO SPACE
Flying over the three-dimensional Moon

LRO Camera Team Releases High Resolution Global Topographic Map of Moon

Mystery of the Lunar Ionosphere

Ancient Lunar Dynamo May Explain Magnetized Moon Rocks

ROBO SPACE
'Little chance' of saving stranded Mars probe: Russia

Opportunity Nearing A Winter Haven

Last chance to send Russian Mars moon probe expires Monday

MRO Catches Mars Sand Dunes in Motion

ROBO SPACE
New material can enhance energy, computer, lighting technologies

NASA Develops New Game-Changing Technology

Weightless US teachers eye giant science leap

Allianz and International Space Transport Association partner in space tourism industry

ROBO SPACE
China plans major effort in pursuing manned space technology

Tiangong-1 orbiter enters long-term operation management

China launches two satellites: state media

Shenzhou-8 departs from in-orbit lab, ready for return

ROBO SPACE
Russian Soyuz brings astronauts safely back to Earth

New Trio Welcomed Aboard Station, Gets to Work

Maintaining Crew Health One Step at a Time

Russian spacecraft delivers new crew to ISS

ROBO SPACE
Mobile Launcher Moves to Launch Pad

Rocket engineer Wolfgang Jung a logistics expert for space science

Arianespace to launch satellite for DIRECTV Latin America

Delta Mariner offloads launch components at Vandenberg

ROBO SPACE
Exo planet count tops 700

Giant planet ejected from the solar system

Three New Planets and a Mystery Object Discovered Outside Our Solar System

Dwarf planet sized up accurately as it blocks light of faint star

ROBO SPACE
HP TouchPad top-selling tablet in US after iPad: study

All systems go for next communication spacecraft

Raytheon BBN To Develop Game-Based Training Methods and Systems to Improve Decision-Making

Multidisciplinary team of researchers develop world's lightest material




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement