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Bust a move! A German robot dances to communicate with honeybees

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Rosalie Lee
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Humans use tools like Google Maps to tell us the location of our nearest restaurant or supermarket, and very soon foraging bees might get a similarly high-tech helping hand.

Researchers at Germany’s Free University of Berlin have developed the RoboBee robot, which shows the best foraging locations by mimicking a dance that bees employ to relay this information to one another.

“Honeybees communicate newly found food locations to nestmates via the bee ‘waggle dance,’ a series of motion patterns they perform in the darkness of the hive,” Tim Landgraf, a professor in the Dahlem Center for Machine Learning and Robotics, told Digital Trends.

“Interested bees somehow decode the dance and know how to reach the new food place.

To understand this process better we have built a robot that imitates the bee dance in its various components.

Essentially, the robot is a bee-sized piece of soft sponge on a stick, moved by a plotter-like positioning system.

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Rosalie Lee
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