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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Space Weather News!
'On the three-dimensional map at weather headquarters on the planet Kaider III, the storm was colored orange.' - AE van Vogt, 1943.

PRAM Solar Powered Satellite Hardware Tested In Orbit
'Our beams feed these worlds energy drawn from... the Sun' - Isaac Asimov, 1941.

MIT Wants To Catch Interstellar Visitors
'INVESTIGATE MYSTERIOUS OBJECT ENTERING NEW CALEDONIA SYSTEM FROM NORMAL SPACE' - Niven and Pournelle, 1974.

Starlink Orbital Network Like Coruscant Traffic Jam
Vermin of the Sky? Or Internet access for all?

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Rippling Fin Robot Drone Swims And Walks
'... the curious parallelism to animal motions, which was so striking and disturbing to the human beholder...'

Space Weather News!
'On the three-dimensional map at weather headquarters on the planet Kaider III, the storm was colored orange'

Liftware Level, Google's Smart Spoon
'The result was indeed marvelous... I did not stagger and I did not reel.'

Cute Teddy Bear Robot Favorite Of Hospitalized Children
'...thought had been given to its programming.'

Google Now Expects Chips To Design Themselves
'What lay down there? Energy, tubes and pipes, wiring, transformers, self-contained machinery...'

PRAM Solar Powered Satellite Hardware Tested In Orbit
'Our beams feed these worlds energy drawn from... the Sun'

3D Printed Glass Uses Stereolithography Techniques
'All that with glass...'

Science Fiction Helps Young Readers Build Resiliency
'Reading science fiction and fantasy can help readers make sense of the world.'

I Want My 1928 Telestereo Hologram Now
'Instantly there appeared standing upon the disk, the image of a man...'

Memes Now Come From Neural Nets
'Your order said for him to be able to be able to work out twists on the gags in the file...'

Robot Dog Learns To Be Doggy From Real Dogs
'So we took pictures of Guzub making a Three Planets, and I could construct this one to do it exactly right down to the thousandth of a second.'

Unwanted Cruise Ships Huddle Together Out At Sea
'On the screen they passed in an endless, boundaryless flood of green specks...'

Sono Sion Electric Car Charges As You Drive
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

News Mood Filter Web Extension
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'

Fetal Lamb Rests In Artificial Womb
'... stewing warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged with blood-surrogate and hormones, the foetuses grew and grew...'

MIT Wants To Catch Interstellar Visitors
'INVESTIGATE MYSTERIOUS OBJECT ENTERING NEW CALEDONIA SYSTEM FROM NORMAL SPACE'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.