The silkmoth-piloted robot
The silkmoth "steers" by walking on an air-floated polystyrene ball
A couple of small fans mounted on the front of the robot (lower left) helped channel the pheromones up toward the moth
A total of 14 male moths were put “behind the wheel” (or above it, to be precise), and they were all able to guide the robot to the pheromone source
In the future, we may have autonomous robots that follow scents to track down gas leaks, rescue disaster victims trapped in debris, or perform other duties. While the algorithms that drive such robots could perhaps just be made up from scratch, scientists from the University of Tokyo are instead looking to the insect world for inspiration. To that end, they recently created a two-wheeled robot that was successfully driven by female-seeking male silkmoths.
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