Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Animal Behavior Study Provides Novel Thinking In Robot Control

April Flowers for – Your Universe Online

Animals deposit marks wherever they go to show their presence, according to a new study from the University of Bristol and Princeton University.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, this study also shows that animals will retreat from marks left by a member of the same species more quickly if the mark they encounter is recent. This study has important implications, the research team says, for animal sociality and how epidemic disease spreads.

Dr Luca Giuggioli of Bristol’s Department of Engineering Mathematics and School of Biological Sciences said, “Movement phenomena are among the most basic characteristics of an animal’s life. Understanding the causes and consequences of organism movement requires merging tools and ideas across different disciplines.”

“This study shows the similarities between the mechanisms of environment-mediated interaction with which an insect colony may find resources and those with which a population of animals segregate in space by forming territories and home ranges.”

“By viewing animal space use processes as a decentralized co-ordination of tasks, we provide a novel platform to develop more efficient algorithms to control robots in search and rescue operations, environmental monitoring and surveillance.”

Dr. Giuggioli was joined on this study by Jonathan Potts, a postdoctoral researcher from Bristol, Daniel Rubenstein, director of the Program in African Studies, and Simon Levin, the George M. Moffett Professor of Biology, from Princeton University.

The team said that identifying how population level patterns emerge from the local rules of interaction between individuals is central to the future development of bio-inspired technologies. Gaining this knowledge is a major research theme at the Bristol Center for Complexity Sciences, where the study was carried out.

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