×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Robots Assimilate Into Cockroach Society

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the good-to-see-the-robots-making-new-friends dept.

Robotics 107

sufijazz writes "Scientists have gotten tiny robots to not only integrate into cockroach society but also control it. 'This experiment in bug peer pressure combined entomology, robotics and the study of ways that complex and even intelligent patterns can arise from simple behavior. Animal behavior research shows that swarms working together can prosper where individuals might fail, and robotics researchers have been experimenting with simple robots that, together, act a little like a swarm.' The BBC also has a video story on this."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

107 comments

Wait, so... (4, Funny)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386211)

They sent robots to Hollywood?

-jcr

Re:Wait, so... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21386789)

Only the ones that didn't go to the White House

Let's get this out of the way. (2, Funny)

nuclearpenguins (907128) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386213)

I, for one, welcome our new robotic insect overlords.

Re:Let's get this out of the way. (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386307)

Wait, would that mean you're a cockroach?

(hmm...as close to safely call somebody "cock" on /. as it gets?)

Re:Let's get this out of the way. (0, Redundant)

blantonl (784786) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386399)

Imagine a Beowulf Cluster of these. And just imagine if they ran Linux.

Imagine recompiling a roach's kernel. Now that is pretty creepy.. or cool.

Re:Let's get this out of the way. (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386467)

Do they still qualify as Overlords if I can squish them under my foot like their cockroach cousins?

Squishing roaches (3, Funny)

CustomDesigned (250089) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386755)

Do they still qualify as Overlords if I can squish them under my foot like their cockroach cousins?
You can squish *lots* of them, but not all of their teeming millions before they eat you alive.

Re:Let's get this out of the way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21387305)

I, as a human, welcome our new robotic pied piper overlords.

My experience (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21386217)

Is that people in academia that work on robotics are much like cockroaches.

frosty piss (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21386223)

http://asshammer.org/haha.gif [asshammer.org] so much better than goatse its first post no matter how late i post it

fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21387197)

How am I supposed to be offended by a picture if I can't even tell what the fuck it is? Better luck next time.

Hey!! We are *NOT* a cockroach society! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21386251)

I resent that you characterize our society as "cockroach". Geez, just because the robots were able to assimilate and blend in --I mean, it really did look exactly like Cindy Margolis [wikipedia.org]-- how were we supposed to know that she was a robot!

And besides, the article says ... actually, I haven't read the article yet ... hang on, let me read this ... oh, umm ...

Er, never mind.

Re:Hey!! We are *NOT* a cockroach society! (1)

billius (1188143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386493)

From another article [nature.com]:

They are very kind, not aggressive and they don't bite.
Given my experience on a FIRST [usfirst.org] robotics team back in high school, robotics people aren't like that at all :p

No, not overlords (5, Interesting)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386259)

I am not going to go to the obligatory "robotic overlords" reference, except to note that in human society, a determined and united groups of individuals have caused masses of people to perform actions that contradict their instincts, common sense, or any boundaries and taboos set by their parent societies.

One conclusion one can draw from this study, coupled with historical precedent in human societies, is that animals come evolutionary pre-programmed to join groups and be subjugated by the rules of said groups, despite better (or alternate) judgment.

Re:No, not overlords (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21386345)

Yes, but can we build a Beowolf Cluster of this?

Re:No, not overlords (4, Interesting)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386423)

"...is that animals come evolutionary pre-programmed to join groups"

Depends on the animal. In social animals, yes. In others (e.g. tigers, bears, moose, spiders), communication will be restricted to mating rituals and that sort of thing. Those methods of communication can of course be mimicked and often are by other species (or sub-species) for their own gain. e.g. orchids and insect mating behavior, moths with "eyes" on their wings etc.

Re:No, not overlords (4, Funny)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386625)

...united groups of individuals have caused masses of people to perform actions that contradict their instincts, common sense...
Why did I think of the user interface for Microsoft Office 2003 when I read that?

Re:No, not overlords (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21386767)

One conclusion one can draw from this study, coupled with historical precedent in human societies, is that animals come evolutionary pre-programmed to join groups and be subjugated by the rules of said groups, despite better (or alternate) judgment.

So THAT'S how Bush got re-elected!

Re:No, not overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21386957)

Exactly! He didn't steal the election.

Re:No, not overlords (0)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386859)

Yeah, I can just imagine the robots trying to get the cockroaches to smoke - "come on.. all the cool roaches are doing it.."

Re:No, not overlords (3, Funny)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#21387037)

"I am not going to go to the obligatory "robotic overlords" reference"
Good! I'm sick of that meme.

I, for one, welcome our new non-obligatory overlord referencing overlords. ...shit.

Nearly perfect (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389187)

"I, for one, welcome our new non-obligatory overlord referencing overlords....oh wait"

There, fixed that for you.

Noam Chomsky- Manufacturing Consent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21389353)

Noam Chomsky has been making this observation in human behavior for many years, as described in the book Manufacturing Consent.

well, then... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21386261)

I suppose that explains Al Gore.

So does that mean (4, Funny)

evanbd (210358) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386277)

That when the humans and the robots destroy each other in a nuclear war, it will be up to the cockroaches to continue the battle against the robot cockroaches?

Re:So does that mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21387167)

Ah, a smart and witty comment that got me laughing. I don't have mod points and apparently those who do lept at the chance to give the predictable and tired "overlords" joke first crack, but kudos to you sir anyways for trying.

Pied Piper anyone? (4, Insightful)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386281)

I wonder, if robots can actually control swarms, could we perhaps make them lead the swarms not to world domination, but to some sort of... mishap?

There's gotta be some way to get rid of them.

That is certainly a dark thought (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386347)

If you remember the pied piper story, it ended with the piper leading all the children of the town away to the mountain, where it closed after them. If it can be done with pests, are you saying we should think about the possibility it can be done with children too?

Re:Pied Piper anyone? (5, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386349)

Yes, that's what the research showed.. the cockroaches will follow the robots 60% of the time. RTFA.

More interesting, I thought, was that the researchers seemed pissed off when the journalists asked the kind of "how would you apply this?" questions that you just asked.

Overheard underneath the stove (5, Funny)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21387071)

(translated from pheromone language)

Cockroach A: "I have this theory. About our new leader."

Cockroach B: "This had better not be another one of your retarded colony conspiracies."

Cockroach A: "Well... I don't think he's cockroach. In fact, I have reason to believe he's a robot. Put here by highly intelligent beings for some bizarre purpose... Maybe to lead us all to destruction. Maybe as a test. I don't know. But have you seen him? I mean, with your own compound eyes?"

Cockroach B: "..."

Re:Overheard underneath the stove (0, Offtopic)

Garabito (720521) | more than 6 years ago | (#21387127)

Damn! Where are my mod points when I need them?

Re:Overheard underneath the stove (2, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21388243)

Damn! Where are my mod points when I need them?

There, someone gave you one, I only hope it was an Offtopic mod point you required ;-)

Re:Overheard underneath the stove (1)

agent_no.82 (935754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21387747)

"I have reason to believe he's a robot. Put here...to lead us all to destruction."
So he's a cylon?

Re:Overheard underneath the stove (1)

ross.w (87751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21388199)

Yes, but does the robot cockroach know it's a robot cockroach? And is the cockroach sent to kill it really a cockroach, or just another robot?

Re:Overheard underneath the stove (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 6 years ago | (#21390451)

You have created a perfect analogy, I am almost certain you have done this on purpose.

Is Bush really a human?

Re:Pied Piper anyone? (4, Funny)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21387265)

the cockroaches will follow the robots 60% of the time.
My cat will follow a ball of yarn 90% of the time.

Re:Pied Piper anyone? (2, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 6 years ago | (#21387749)

Slashdotters will make up statistics based upon wildly inaccurate supposition and blatantly false assumptions 100% of the time.

Re:Pied Piper anyone? (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386647)

Mishap -- this is the definition of the US Congress. No, no method exists to get rid of them. They refuse to swarm in any useful organized fashion.

Re:Pied Piper anyone? (1)

Headw1nd (829599) | more than 6 years ago | (#21390805)

Well, the thing I thought was the strangest about the article is that apparently the roaches followed the robots 60% of the time, but "The other 40 percent of the time, the robotic roaches succumbed to peer pressure and headed for the darkest place."

So, at best, we can lead the roaches to their doom three out of five times, but the remaining 40% of our attempts will inadvertently augment their swarms with indestructible biodroids.

Re:Pied Piper anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21391817)

That was exactly my thought. If the robot roach can lead them to an extermination trap, and you just recycle the robot, you could soon clear out infestations. If the robot can be carried into the nest and then dispense poison, again the nest can be destroyed. I wonder if you can make a robot larvae and have it carried back home.

Despite the Humorous Overtoans, this is Amazing (1)

zibix (654122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386465)

The fact that we've integrated a robot into another species strikes me as the most amazing scientific project I've heard of in years. We need to push this to it's limit. Like mammals for example.

Re:Despite the Humorous Overtoans, this is Amazing (2, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386977)

"We need to push this to it's limit. Like mammals for example."

I worked on a dairy farm for a while that had ~100 cows. At milking time the farmer would swing open the gate and walk off into the milking shed, seeing the open gate the (old) dog would trot out and round up the cows by itself. Often there wasn't much for it to do other than stroll along behind the herd because the cows also knew the drill. Not sure how the cows knew what time it was since none of them were wearing watches but they would often gather near the gate just before 3:00 in the afternoon and wait patiently for it to be opened.

It's a neat trick with the robots but I can't see them replacing working dogs and cooperative herds of mammals any day soon, especially since 40% of the time the robots followed the roaches behaviour rather than the other way round.

Re:Despite the Humorous Overtoans, this is Amazing (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21387883)

"Not sure how the cows knew what time it was since none of them were wearing watches but they would often gather near the gate just before 3:00 in the afternoon and wait patiently for it to be opened."

That's easy -- their udders are full. Kind of like how you know it's time to go to the bathroom. (I've had the dog's job in a milking operation.)

Re:Despite the Humorous Overtoans, this is Amazing (2, Funny)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#21388259)

"I've had the dog's job in a milking operation."

I was hired to spend a month or so hacking down thistles[sic] in the pasture, I was at least two promotions away from the dog's job. :)

Re:Despite the Humorous Overtoans, this is Amazing (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21387021)

They just rounded the cockroaches up, like working dogs round up sheep, just like my radio control car rounds up my dog. We just need to build a big robot to run around hearding whatever we want. If they resist, we can create robots that push and shove.... PAK CHOOIE UNF.

We're not interested in people. (5, Funny)

gv250 (897841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386483)

From TFA:

The results also apply only to cockroaches, Dr. Halloy said. "We are not interested in people," he said.
He programmed his robot to play with his cockroaches, and he is not interested in people. Sounds like a /. reader to me.

but can't you see the tiny robots? (2, Funny)

xPsi (851544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386511)

Scientists have gotten tiny robots to not only integrate into cockroach society but also control it
So I guess (except for the cockroach part) it's a lot like life in the United States

Mark Tilden has been doing this for a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21386539)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BEAM_robotics [wikipedia.org]

Mark Tilden demonstrated approx. fifteen years ago that very simple robots would behave exactly like insects. The important thing he found was that it wasn't necessary to have very much computing power. Insects don't have very much after all. Insect behavior is a combination of environment + mechanics + minimal processing.

Anyone doing this kind of work really should be familiar with what Tilden has done.

Re:Mark Tilden has been doing this for a while (1)

iron-kurton (891451) | more than 6 years ago | (#21387841)

Hey, thanks for the link. I am becoming more and more interested in swarm intelligence, and am thinking of doing my master's project in this field. I found your link extremely interesting, and a good place to start (aside from Kennedy and Eberhart's Swarm Intelligence http://www.swarmintelligence.org/SIBook/SI.php [swarmintelligence.org]).

Get the cockroaches out of the house! (0, Flamebait)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386621)

So, ahh, after all this research, do they have a program that will actually get the robot cockroaches to lead the bio-roaches OUT of the house? Or into a poison trap where they can all be killed?

    I used to live in New Orleans. They have cockroaches there that are as big as your finger. They hang out on light bulbs. When you turn on a light in a dark room, you learn to put your hand in front of your face because the instant light causes the giant roaches to blast off the light bulb and often right at your face.

    Killing these roaches by the hundreds of thousands would really improve the quality of life. Along with getting the carcinogens out of the drinking water, making the levees stronger, and a whole lot of other things.

    Still getting a fleet of robot cockroaches to lead bio-roaches to their doom somehow would be wonderful. Then we can start to work on the termites and the rats, then the republicans and the Klan.

Usefull application: controlling locust swarm (1)

slashdotmsiriv (922939) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386651)

It is not that unlikely that a few thousand locust-like robots would be able to change the direction of huge locust swarms.

Cocked Roaches and Buggery!? (3, Funny)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386653)

So, will they command it to bugger the bugs they bugged? I guess it will bug the shit out of them... real buggery-like...

Sounds kinda... insectstuous....

Watch out for mating season. This is the REAL widow-maker. Exoskeleton-crushing sex....from a real sex-bot... I wonder how endowed this bugger is...

Androids amongst us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21386669)

Just like 'reality'. Androids leading the humans.

Bender did that kind of thing too... or will do (2, Funny)

barwasp (1116567) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386673)

Yes, the Futurama - news channel has a full coverage of a similar story [wikipedia.org].

Re:Bender did that kind of thing too... or will do (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#21387853)

He also did that with space bees, sort of. Bzz bzz bzzzt. Bender is great. Deal with it.

Fire up the antennae... (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386681)

Cuz when the championship sexbot arrives on scene, it can signal:

You... will... be... ass-immolate...

The original experiment.... (1)

blind monkey 3 (773904) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386765)

was aimed at less intelligent life forms than cockroaches but I hear the robots refused to associate with the lawyers and politicians.

So... (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386801)

...does this mean that the robots have passed the Turing test [wikipedia.org] for cockroaches? I guess probably not yet, but if we can create robots that can act like the real thing - well that's pretty much the definition of it isn't it?

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21386817)

I for one welcome our robotic overlords.

I for one (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386823)

I for one welcome the Cockroach's robotic overlords.
Can you think of an easier way to get all the roaches into a Roach Motel?

Re:I for one (0, Offtopic)

Lordplatypus (731338) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386897)

I would assume the easiest way to get the roaches into a Motel would be Female Robotic Roaches. At least for a few minutes anyways.

Pest control (1)

SKPhoton (683703) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386925)

They can control cockroach societies, eh? Hopefully they can have the robots train the cockroaches to commit seppuku.

Re:Pest control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21387407)

Sure they can but only the japanese roaches...

Big headline simple bottomline (5, Funny)

kyashan (919683) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386967)

Mentioning robots evokes AI, but the key is that those carts are doused with cockroach sex hormones.
Show me a girl with a miniskirt and over knee stockings and I'll follow her not 60% but 100% of the times.

Re:Big headline simple bottomline (1)

LrdDimwit (1133419) | more than 6 years ago | (#21387173)

The glowing red eyes wouldn't bother you any? My, what big ears you have, baby ...

Re:Big headline simple bottomline (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 6 years ago | (#21390481)

So either the 40% of the roaches are gay, straight women or happily married (if there is such a thing.)

I Am Cockroach of Borg... (3, Funny)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#21387059)

Lower your exoskeletons and surrender your motels. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.

"Tiny robots integrate into cockroach society..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21387113)

so the next logical step is to see if they would be accepted into lawfirms, such as Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe.

Required.... (0, Redundant)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21387121)

I, for one, welcome our new robotic insectoid swarm controlling overlords.

A new overlords record! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21387433)

Using 'find' got eleven hits for 'overlord' on this page, as of 11/16 11:00PM EST.

Do they have salami in Brussels? (2, Insightful)

memorycardfull (1187485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21387563)

I don't see how the experiment described in the NYT story demonstrated anything other than cockroaches prefer dark places that smell like sex. The robots are "doused" with sex hormones. The way the experiment is presented presupposes that the hormones function to identify the robots as cockroaches to the other roaches. The conclusions drawn in the article present the behavior of the roaches in going where the robots are as imitation of peer behavior. The action of the robots is described as leading the others. It seems to me that the roaches' behavior is more simply explained by attraction to the sex hormones on the robots. Seems to me the experiment just proves that some roaches will abandon a dark hiding place for sexytime, but I am not an entomologist. I make sandwiches. I bet you would get very similar results if instead of using sex hormones, you rubbed a slice of salami on the robots. Do they have salami in Brussels? They should try it.

All those 70's animal horror movies true? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21387685)

Wow here it is 30 years later after a whole genre of 70's animal swarm horror movies are now that much scarier. You know, like Frogs, Squirm! and such.

Do they welcome their robotic overlords? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21388111)

One has to wonder... do the cockroaches welcome their robotic overlords?

Pseudo-sentience (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21388559)

"This experiment in bug peer pressure combined entomology, robotics and the study of ways that complex and even intelligent patterns can arise from simple behavior."

They could have reached the same conclusions a lot easier simply by studying Congress. And fewer people would be upset if they sacrificed the subjects at the end of the study.

Skewed (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389581)

The fact that they used sex hormones makes the results skewed at best. Give me the sex hormone used and the percentage of opposites that followed. Better yet, don't use sex hormones at all, just cockroach body odor and see what happens.

The robot is hot! (1)

bar-agent (698856) | more than 6 years ago | (#21391261)

The article says they "doused the robot in eau de cockroach sex hormones."

I do believe that would make the robot smell all sexy.

Would you do stupid things for a hot chick? I know I would! Bungee-jumping off a cliff would be the least of it.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...