I found a few interesting stories about robots today:
U.S. soldiers in Iraq are giving nicknames and forming emotional bonds with bomb-defusing robots.
One group of soldiers named its robot “Scooby Doo” and grieved when it was blown up after completing 35 successful missions defusing improvised explosive devices. “Please fix Scooby Doo because he saved my life,” a soldier told repair technicians.
When coated with pheromones taken from roaches, the insect-like robots or “insbots“, could fool the cockroaches into thinking they are real creatures. The insbots even succeeded in changing the roaches’ behaviour. For example, the darkness-loving insects followed their artificial cousins towards bright beams of light and congregated there. The experiment showed how humans might soon be able to manipulate the behaviour of a whole colony of insects. (video in french)
“We believe farming in Europe can only survive if is associated with high technology,” explains Jean-Louis Deneubourg, from the Université Libre de Bruxelles. “A robot interacting with animals, even if it is not mobile, could be used for numerous tasks, such as herding or milking. Our project demonstrates that the fields of biology and IT can work together more closely in future.”