A fish and bee talking to each other right!! you might have seen this in cartoons but hold on scientists have done this in reality. This is something unlikely scientists have tried to experiment with the help of robots.
Animal communication is fascinating at the same time it seems to be more complex than we realize. We already know the success of human in communicating with the animals but now scientists have leapt forward and tracked the conversation between different species itself.
Bees and fish meeting chances are very rare and even if they meet what would they converse? Probably both would talk about how polluted their environment has become i.e air and water pollution because that’s what we humans are facing right now and obviously they would too!!
However, the most interesting question is how did they meet and how scientists were able to track their conversation?
Engineers from EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne ) and Europeans universities managed to successfully overcome the impossibility of communication between the two species bees and fishes with the help of robots. The bees have migrated to a laboratory in Gratz, Austria and fishes to Lausanne, Switzerland and the two species were transmitting the signal back and forth and slowly started to synchronize with each other decision.
One of the researchers of EPFL Francesco Mondada said ”
The robots behaved as if they were negotiators and interpreters in an international conference. Through the various information exchanges, the two groups of animals gradually came to a shared decision”
A robotic fish was associated with other fishes, which were placed in the ring-shaped tank. Likewise, bees had two robots, located at the ends of the terminal. The robot could communicate with these species by sending out signals which were specific to each species.
The robots which were associated in the pool of fish emitted two sorts of signal
visual signals – with respect to different shapes, colors, and stripes.
behavior signals- with respect to acceleration, vibration, and tail movement.
The robots in bee colony radiated signals in the form of air movements, vibration and temperature variation.
The signals emitted by the robots were received and responded by both fishes and bees. Hence the fishes started swimming in a given direction whereas bees swarmed along one location. The robots in both the group recorded the behaviors and then exchanged the information with each other. Finally, the information was received by robots and they decoded this information into appropriate signals which were suitable for the corresponding species.
Though 700 km apart both the species could talk to each other during the course of the experiment. Initially, the conversation was chaotic but with time the coordination among them was observed. After 25 minutes synchronization was achieved all the fish were swimming in counter-clock direction and all the bees swarmed along a terminal.
The species even swapped certain characteristics and started adopting it. the bees became a little extra restless and were unlikely to swarm together than usual, whereas the fish started to group together more than they usually do.
The study and experiments performed here are ideal and it could impact society in a positive way. The robotic engineers with the help of this study can design a machine or robot itself to record and translate biological signals. If biological signals can be recorded effectively then it can be further used in the prevention of diseases and successfully treatment of genetic diseases.
pecifically, ethologists can be benefited from this study which will help them to study animal behavior and their interaction within an ecosystem in a better way. Also, this study can help us in the monitoring of the natural habitat of animals using exceptional sensory capabilities of the animal.
Technology has both positive and negative impacts hence measures should also be taken that we do not indulge so much with this technology that it leads to disturbance of natural habitat of animals. At times we humans forget our limits and instead of taking care of nature and its species we start abusing it. Guidelines and criteria must be included where too much involvement with innocent animals and birds is restricted if the technology is impacting in a negative way.