The research by Edinburgh scientists into insect brains is being showcased at an international conference.
Insects have tiny brains, but they navigate extremely well.
Their findings could aid the development of robots to carry out mundane or repetitive tasks, such as spraying crops or clearing litter.
One example of these robots is a mobile phone on wheels.
Using an in-built camera and compass, the team can run programs in the insect’s natural environment.
This helps to see how closely the machine mimics the insect’s behaviour.
Such a robot can record insect-eye views through a field of vegetation and use its memory of these views to follow the same route on its next journey.
By copying insects, it is hoped that control of robot for simple tasks can be made cheaper, simpler and more robust.
Or a robot could move around a field of crops, dispensing fertiliser or pesticides.
It is difficult to measure neural activity in an insect flying or running around its natural environment. Building robot models helps us bridge the gap between brain and behaviour.
Source : University of Edinburgh