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Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Science https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ This pedestrian robot is powered by the sun, no GPS required

This pedestrian robot is powered by the sun, no GPS required

Top left, Cataglyphis Desert ant; below the left, the Australian desert ant Melophorus bagoti ;
Photograph: Dupeyroux, et al (Science Robotics)

Researchers in France call their six-foot "AntBot" creation. This 9-inch robot not only moves like a desert. ant – it also occupies their unique navigational skills.

These skills, demonstrated in a new study published Wednesday at Science Robotics, may someday allow robots to find their way home without the need for conventional tracking techniques such as GPS.

Robots based on insects or arachnids are not exactly new. Robots with legs, unlike those on wheels, are better at crossing uneven terrain. But researchers behind AntBot, based at the University of Aix-Marseille in southern France, turned to two different types of eating and inspiration in their design: of the Sahara and Melophorus bagoti from Central Australia.

AntBot in his full glory.
According to the author, Julien Doupayro, engineer and doctorate in bio-biotics in Aix-Marseille, desert ants travel long distances in search of food but can not use their sense of smell, to return home, thanks to the hot circles they live in. But they have found ways to compensate. The key thing is that ants in the wilderness can not relate to pheromone paths to find their way, as the molecules released to the ground will be instantly destroyed by extreme heat, "said Douperou, adding that during ants outdoor temperatures can reach up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit for feeding trips. "During their evolution, desert ants such as Cataglyphis have developed sensory modality to locate their entrances to their nest."

In other words, ants use different tricks to help them understand and remember where their homes are in terms of their current location – the ability scientists call integration on the road (when people do that, it's called dead account). The complex eyes of the ants, for example, contain unique photoreceptors that capture ultraviolet rays of light from the Sun that is polarized by dispersed air molecules. However, this pattern of UV light changes when the sun moves in the sky. By tracking these shifting patterns, the ants essentially have an inner, heavenly compass that allows them to determine in which direction they are faced. The same technique may have even been used by Viking sailors at sea for sailing on cloudy days.

They can also track how quickly the ground moves in their eyes, which is known as an optical flow (the next time you're in a car or bicycle, just pay special attention to how the world moves alongside you – that's optical flow). The optical flow, along with anthrax awareness of how many steps they have made during a walk, allows them to judge how far they have traveled. Put it together with the celestial compass and have a living, breathing, six-legged self-directed device.

Dyppero and his team picked up these tricks, along with the anthill, to create a 3D-printed, Raspberry Pi completely independent AntBot. Then they sent the bounty to walk randomly for a short time in different environments before asking him to come home.

AntBot was good enough to find the fastest way back home, using only one or two of

AntBot's journey home, accelerated six times.
GB: Dupeyroux, et al (Science Robotics) Antobot is not exactly "thought" like an ant, partly because we do not fully understand how desert ants use all of their navigational signs. But the almost perfect performance of AntBot is still impressive, said Dupeyroux, especially since it is made with relatively cheap technology and materials.

Originally he estimates that he can cost over $ 85,000 to create a bot with a number of sensors that completely mimic his composite eyes. But the less sophisticated bot sensors were still able to reproduce the unique photoreceptors used for the celestial compass; they also helped reduce the final cost of designing and producing AntBot to about $ 500.

"We have shown that our solution is biologically plausible and that there are also outstanding results," he said.

The navigation know-how shown by AntBot can someday be used well in technologies such as the last mile of drones or intelligent cars, said Dypepado. Ideally, these robots will use a combination of different navigation methods on their own, including GPS. But AntBot's trick of tricks can provide some advantages over existing methods in certain situations.

"Although GPS has a great influence on world navigation, it suffers from several frontiers," said Dyprero. This includes signal failure in tall buildings; a relatively small area of ​​precision for smaller devices such as smartphones and is not particularly good for cloud, rainy or snowy days. AntBot and robots like him should, at least in theory, be able to work around these limits.

So far, however, there is still much work to be done to improve the robot. to go further in navigation. In its present form, it moves only for short distances, "Doupeyrou says. Thanks to the small, overheating engines used to move and rotate, along with its limited power supply, AntBot can only move 15 meters (49 feet). "We are currently working on a new trigger to allow our robot to perform a 100-meter trajectory in real-world conditions."

The team is also planning to improve the accuracy of the celestial compass on the bot, as well as its processing power.

[Science Robotics]

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