Streaming issues? Report here
Bongani Bingwa 1500 x 1500 2020 Bongani Bingwa 1500 x 1500 2020
Breakfast with Bongani Bingwa
06:00 - 09:00
volume_up
volume_mute

Up Next: The Clement Manyathela Show
See full line-up
Breakfast with Bongani Bingwa
06:00 - 09:00
Home
arrow_forward
Local

New discovery about dung beetles has implications for AI, robotics

6 November 2019 6:39 PM
Tags:
Wits University
Lund University
dung beetle
Prof. Marcus Byrne

Wits Prof. Marcus Byrne says the beetle uses not only visual but also mechanical cues to achieve navigational precision.

It turns out that dung beetles are even more amazing than we've always known they are with their ability to move backwards using directional sensors to tune into visual stimuli.

A collaborative project by researchers at Lund University in Sweden and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) has found that aside from picking up visual cues from their environment, the beetles also have a built-in _mechanical _sensory system.

Wits professor of Entomology, Marcus Byrne explains:

The way we've looked at it in the past is using celestial clues like the sun and the moon and the stars and polarised light in the sky invisible to the human eye. That's what we thought they had in their armoury up to now.

Marcus Byrne, Professor of Entomology - Wits University

But what happens when the sun is overhead at noon and useless as a compass?

The researchers found that the beetles have a fallback system:

We found that in these situations the species we looked at were able to switch to a mechanical cue and they sense that through their antennas - what they sensed was the wind.

Marcus Byrne, Professor of Entomology - Wits University

We do know that lots of flying insects also use wind as a compass.

Marcus Byrne, Professor of Entomology - Wits University

Professor Byrne says this example of navigational precision tools could be applied in artificial intelligence and robotics.

It (the dung beetle) doesn't need a GPS, it doesn't need a satellite, it can just use natural signals in the environment... It's literally the simplest piece of information that you can teach a robot to respond to and then you can get that robot to orientate itself through that environment.

Marcus Byrne, Professor of Entomology - Wits University

The fact that the creature can switch between its sources of input within a matter of seconds is another valuable function which could impact technology.

Listen to the complete conversation here:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : New discovery about dung beetles has implications for AI, robotics




6 November 2019 6:39 PM
Tags:
Wits University
Lund University
dung beetle
Prof. Marcus Byrne

More from Local

SA records 566 fatalities and 12,710 COVID-19 infections

21 January 2021 6:34 AM

The deaths have pushed the death toll to 38, 854 since the start of the pandemic.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Consumers should not have to fight for right to access recorded calls

20 January 2021 8:48 PM

Why do consumers have to jump through so many hoops? Consumer ninja Wendy Knowler makes her case on The Money Show.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Inflation at 16-year low yet prices of everyday foods are skyrocketing. Why?

20 January 2021 6:59 PM

The Money Show's Bruce Whitfield interviews Kevin Lings, chief economist at Stanlib Asset Management.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

'The fact that we could find the two radio galaxies is so cool'

20 January 2021 4:52 PM

Postdoctoral research fellow in the Astronomy Department Dr Jacinta Delhaize explains what this means for the Milkyway.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Mandela Foundation says allegations against CEO, COO taken very seriously

20 January 2021 3:02 PM

A Sunday Times report suggested a report was related to allegations of procurement impropriety, the misuse of company credit cards and the abuse of power.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

As things stand Dr Basson was never suspended from practising - HPCSA

20 January 2021 2:51 PM

Mediclinic says Dr Basson is not employed by Mediclinic Southern Africa and does not have consulting rooms at their facilities.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Zulu summoned to Parli to explain violent acts by police on grant recipients

20 January 2021 1:32 PM

Eyewitness News Parliamentary correspondent Gaye Davis says the minister also clarified the police casper incidence.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Marking of matric exam scripts to be completed ahead of schedule, says dept

20 January 2021 12:11 PM

Director of examinations, Priscilla Ogunbanjo, said that the capturing of marks had now begun.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Severe weather warning issued for SA as tropical cyclone forms in Mozambique

20 January 2021 10:20 AM

The South African Weather Services says the tropical cyclone was expected to form over Mozambique this week.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

I apologise for exposing her numbers, not for standing up for myself - Somizi

20 January 2021 7:47 AM

TV personality Somizi Mhlongo-Motaung responds to Sanef's call for him to apologise to journalists he insulted.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward