Yes, you heard it right, robotic bees. A group of scientists in the UK from the University of Sheffield and the University of Sussex want to scan the brains of bees and upload them into robotic bees to see if they can get the robotic bee’s to act like normal bees without any programming.
The aim of the project? To make the first robots that can work on instinct as well as programming. This can go one of two ways – they can be programmed to fly into collapsed mines and see if there are survivors, detect gas leakages or even pollinate plants like a regular bee. The other way is that they become self-aware and turn on their masters and the human race becomes over run by robotic bees that pack a bad sting (sound like a Sci Fi movie yet?).
James Marshall, heading up the £1.4 million project had this to say;
“The development of an artificial brain is one of the greatest challenges in artificial intelligence. So far, researchers have typically studied brains such as those of rats, monkeys, and humans, but actually ‘simpler’ organism such as social insects have surprisingly advanced cognitive abilities”
If all goes well, they will have a new insight into how the cognitive systems work and will gain more understanding into how they work in animals and humans. If all goes well, they should have the Bionic Bees up and buzzing around by 2015 – keep that bee killer spray handy, just in case.