Streaming issues? Report here
Aubrey Masango 2019 BW Aubrey Masango 2019 BW
The Aubrey Masango Show
22:00 - 00:00
volume_up
volume_mute

The Aubrey Masango Show
22:00 - 00:00

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:


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

Recommended

More from Local

pj-powers-world-in-union-tygerberg-childrens-choirjpg

PJ Powers, Tygerberg Children's Choir record powerful version of World in Union

25 May 2020 3:49 PM

They produced and recorded the beautiful tribute to all Covid-19 essential workers while in isolation during the lockdown.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

john steenhuisen

More court cases are coming, particularly relating to the cigarette ban - DA

25 May 2020 1:34 PM

We must now try and rescue what's left of the economy, says Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

20200425ndzonlevel4jpg

Cigarette ban: Is it because Government cares? Is it ANC factional politics?

25 May 2020 11:40 AM

Is there something more to the cigarette ban, asks political analyst Sanusha Naidoo. Why cigarettes and not alcohol?

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

baker-sound-and-security-facebookjpg

Baker Sound and Security ready and open for business

25 May 2020 11:21 AM

#CapeTalkShoutOut to this multi-fitment centre in Cape Town that is surviving the Covid-19 lockdown, with Ninety One.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

uct-upper-campus-jammie-stairs-jameson-halljpg

What level 3 means for university students - Deputy Minister Higher Education

25 May 2020 10:12 AM

Buti Manamela explains how the allowed 33% of students will return to campus and the plans for the rest to work remotely.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

lockdown-dairy-capetalkpng

The Lockdown Diaries: A daily snapshot of latest stats and facts about Covid-19

25 May 2020 10:00 AM

CapeTalk presents a 1-minute summary of the Covid-19 state of play every day after 9.30 am on Today with Kieno Kammies.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

200422-cigarettes-edjpg

Health Dep DG: Smoking is affecting smokers, it's not affecting anybody else

25 May 2020 7:24 AM

National Health Director-General Dr Anban Pillay explains Lockdown level 3 which will be implemented from 1 June.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Lockdown levels South Africa Covid-19 coronavirus 123rf

[GRAPHICS] Lockdown level 3 at a glance

24 May 2020 9:28 PM

The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa released these key points outlining the level 3 lockdown for the country from 1 June.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

president-cyril-ramaphosa-24-maypng

Level 3 from 1 June: Exercise hours relaxed, alcohol ban lifted, but no ciggies

24 May 2020 8:17 PM

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in an address to the nation that SA will move down to Level 3 lockdown from 1 June.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Man at check-in counter at airport with passport travel 123rflifestyle 123rf

'Essential travel' approved for South Africans who need to return abroad

24 May 2020 5:01 PM

The Dept of Home Affairs has announced the categories which meet criteria for permission to leave the country.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward