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Bacteria swarms could inspire new generation of smart robots

Tel Aviv University researchers have developed a computational model that explains how bacteria move in a swarm, which can be applied to man-made technologies, including computers, artificial intelligence, and robotics.

Ph.D. student Adi Shklarsh of TAU has discovered how bacteria collectively gather information about their environment and find an optimal path to growth even in the most complex terrains.

Studying the principles of bacteria navigation will allow researchers to design a new generation of smart robots that can form intelligent swarms, aid in the development of medical micro-robots used to diagnose or distribute medications in the body, or “de-code” systems used in social networks and throughout the Internet to gather information on consumer behaviours.

The assumption has been, Shklarsh said, that bacteria would be at a disadvantage compared to other swarming organisms.

But in a surprising discovery, the researchers found that computationally, bacteria actually have superior survival tactics, finding “food” and avoiding harm more easily than swarms such as amoeba or fish.
 
 

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