PAUL HALES was trying to burn my house down this morning when yet another bumble bee decided it wanted to be saved.
They always batter themselves insensible against the glass and look like they’re close to death, poor things.
Eventually I found it, and, yet again, said bumble bee did a little jig to orient itself and off she flew.
Off Hales flew too, right into the maze that is Oxford’s one way traffic system. I couldn’t rescue him. Even seven hours later he might still be trying to orient himself.
NIKKEI NET has an interesting article today on how Japanese boffins are studying insects to create cyborgs (cybugs?) that integrate electronics with bits of their bodies.
Junpei Kanazaki, of the University of Tokyo, thinks that he can use the ability of the silkworm moth to detect pheromes from a female moth over one kilometre away to detect narcotics instead.
His Frankenstein creation integrates the head of a moth with a 30 centimetre robot to detect the pheromones and point to where the source is.
Nissan is studying the bee’s ability to avoid obstacles in a hundredth of a second and hopes those principles can be applied to future motor car designs.
Mammals, according to Kanakazi, have brains that have 100 million neurons, while insect brains are hundreds of thousands of times simpler.
Kanakazi, however, should take note of Intel’s take on the humble bumble bee. According to an Intel executive in 1998, its CPUs would have enough transistors to equal the number of logical circuits of a bee family member by 2010. The nikkei.net article is here – you will need a subscription.
If all of this comes to pass, it will be most interesting.
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Tagged bumble bee, cyborgs, Frankenstein, Intel, Junpei Kanazaki, mammals, neurons, Nissan, pheromones, silk worm, University of Tokyo