Robots are making waves to serve us for almost everything we do. But, it is technology that drives them, which is subject to breakdown. What could this lead to? Standstills, disruptions that could have serious repercussions on everything that is connected. Not anymore!
Taking inspiration from desert ants, researchers designed the first GPS free walking robot. Called AntBot, the walking robot can explore its environment. The robot can go home automatically sans GPS or mapping. With this innovation, new strategies for navigation systems in driverless vehicles and robotics are in the making.
Capability of Responsiveness to Polarized Light make Desert Ants find way in Space
Desert ants have the capability to find their way in space, unlike human eyes that are insensitive to ultraviolet radiation and polarized light present in space. In particular, cataglyphis desert ants can crawl several hundred meters, and take several hundred meters of direct sunlight in the desert to find food. Thereafter, they return back to their nests in a straight line without getting lost. Limiting their capability, desert ants cannot use pheromones, and can thus come out when the external temperature is optimum.
Throwing light on their physiology, the extraordinary navigation talent of desert ants works depending on two pieces of information. First, measurement of the heading to understand the orientation of ants. The tool used is a sort of celestial compass, aided by the sky’s polarized light. Secondly, distance covered is the parameter that influences the navigation capability of desert ants. To measure this, this involves count of steps, along with the rate at which they move relative to sun. The distance measured involves optical science.