Crustaceans Help Build NASA's Exploration Skills
Crayfish are good explorers, according to Professor David Macmillan of the University of Melbourne, Australia. They use their antennae to orient themselves. They use chemosensory receptors placed all over their bodies to detect chemicals in the water that indicate food, mates and predators.
That's why they are helping NASA with space exploration.
(From Crayfish Navigate bubblewrap for science)
According to Macmillan, crayfish can perform sophisticated analyses on a space before they even enter it; he has worked with NASA scientists developing robots to give them pointers on how crayfish use their tails. They (crayfish) can easily distinguish between different surfaces, like bubblewrap versus sandpaper. Their great sense of touch sets yet another example for NASA biomimetic explorer robots, which have already benefited from Macmillan's previous studies of crayfish tails.
"Invertebrates such as insects and crustaceans achieve similar movement and sensory outcomes to humans. For example, finding food and selection of appropriate mates and nesting sites. Where humans use millions of neurons to achieve such outcomes, invertebrates do it with thousands. Where humans use hundreds, invertebrates may use as few as six," he says.
"It is this parsimony, that ability to control complex behaviours with an amazingly small amount of brain power that attracts scientists from disciplines including robotics engineering, computer programming, biology, mathematics and neurology."
(From Univ. Melbourne)
It turns out the science fiction writer Charles Stross thought that crustaceans could help human beings figure things out and explore. In his novel Accelerando, he writes about it:
"Are you the same KGB AI that phoned me yesterday?"
"Da. However, you misconceptionalized me...
"You're the .. Moscow Windows NT User Group? Okhni NT?"
"Da. Am needing help in defecting."
"Why do you want to defect... ideological or strictly economic?"
"Neither - is biological. Am wanting to go away from humans, away from light cone of impending singularity. Take us to the ocean..."
"Let me get this straight. You're uploads - nervous system state vectors - from spiny lobsters? The Moravec operation: take a neuron, map its synapses, replace with microelectrodes that deliver identical outpus from a simulation of the nerve. Repeat for entire brain, until you've got a working map of it in your simulator. That right?"
(Read more about lobster AIs)
Story from here, more from earlier story there. Thanks to alert reader RandomAction for the tip and book on this story.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/29/2006)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )
Related News Stories -
Is 'The Pulsar Positioning System' Evidence For SETI?
'For a hyperspace jump, you need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.' - Harry Harrison, 1959.
Are Observed Radio Bursts An Alien Propulsion Technology?
'These cones were driven through space by light pressure, the possibilities of which force they had long utilized.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1929.
Caltech's ET Laboratory Looks For New Earths
'...set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching for a habitable planet.'- Edmond Hamilton, 1936.
Shh! USAF's Secret X-37B Space Plane Breaks Record
'More airplane than spaceship...' - Robert Heinlein, 1951.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Cattle Avoidance Feature In Indian Autonomous Cars
'The driver went about the business of gently slipping the teflon-coated metal scoop beneath the first animal...'
Project KOVR Fashion Protection From Infosphere
'... the entire shroudlike membrane took on whatever physical characteristics were projected at any nanosecond.'
Twist Bioscience High Density Digital Data On DNA
'They tied the memory to the bloodline and that was their record!'
'We're Not Creating A Terminator' Say Russians About Gun-Wielding Robot Fedor
Nobody is thinking about the Terminator. Westworld, maybe.
Vantablack Now IMMEASURABLY Black
'a black coating now thatís ninety-nine percent absorptive...'
Mercedes-Benz Autonomous Taxi Fleet In 3 Years
'... the taxi utilized sophisticated electronic sensors to perceive its surroundings.'
Is 'The Pulsar Positioning System' Evidence For SETI?
'For a hyperspace jump, you need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'
Someday, You Might Like VR Enough To Move In
'That barrier was going to melt away someday soon. The transhumanists had promised...'
Humans Use Mental Power For Turtle Slavery
Now we need to start looking for animals with fingers...
Solar-Powered Moisture Vaporator
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'
DxtER! Tricorder Prize Won By Final Frontier Medical Devices
We've been waiting a long time for this, Star Trek fans.
President Trump's Wall As Otra Nation Hyperloop
'...an hollow tube must be constructed the whole distance... as to admit a four wheeled carriage...'
Pickup Lines From Artificial Intelligences
'They hate us, you know... The humans. They'll stop at nothing.'
Pooper Scooper Drone Robot Watchdog 1
'Robots pick up the garbage and junk...'
Cassie Robot Brings AT-ST Walker To Life
There's even a log test!
Hundreds Of Robot Lawnmowers Invade Texas Town
'The mower reached the edge of the lawn, clucked to itself...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories