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 ")

Russian Space Garden
'We saw the gardens, flooded with artificial sunlight...' - Harley S. Aldinger, 1932.

Make Space Tools On The Spot (Like Moties)
'A moment ago it was squeezing silver toothpaste in a ribbon...' - Niven and Pournelle, 1974.

Bacteria Behave Differently In Space
'The Republic struggled to control its Sours...' - Bruce Sterling, 1985.

SpaceX Spacesuit Design Transmitted By Elon Musk
Welcome, SpaceX, to the club of space suit imaginers and makers.

 

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

BabyX AI Real Enough For You
'...what's to keep me from showing face, Man? I'm showing a voice this instant... I can show a face the same way.'

We Could Downgrade Puerto Rico - And Thereby Save It
'It was cheaper to pay the refugees to go without up-to-the-minute equipment.'

Pegasus, Nvidia Supercomputer For Autonomous Driving
'...a 2045 convertible with a Hennis-Carleton positronic motor and an Armat chassis.'

Loihi Chip Mimics Human Brain's Neurons And Synapses
'You can hook a Thorsen tube into a control circuit... and the tube will "remember" what was done and can direct the operation...'

Self-Assembling Bacteria Build A Pressure Sensor
Nature is a master of fabricating structured materials consisting of living and non-living components.

3D Printed Artificial Muscles Are Stronger Than Yours
Bots don't need to work out.

Fog Computing (AKA Edge Computing) Ad Hoc Networks
'The tiny devices chirped their impulse codes at one another...'

Dubai Scorpion Police Hoverbike Ready To Pull Young Kirk Over
'Is there a problem, officer?'

HEXA Robotic Help For Plants
Then some unknown race had chanced upon the dreamers and decided to "help them out."

Korean Tesla Model S Video 'Excelsior' Is Indeed Our Motto
'Improving man by bringing him close to Nature, while they combine the sensations of coasting with the interest of seeing the country well...'

DIY Robot Shoots You In The Face
'...there were automatic guns that fired ligamine darts.'

A Bayesian Approach to Safe Imitation Learning For AIs and Robots
Um, how about that pension for the humans who serve as the models for robot behavior?

Qoobo Headless Robotic Therapy Cat Was Anne McCaffrey's Idea
'...used as surrogates in intense dependency cases.'

Autonomous Cars Talk To Each Other At MCity
'My cars talk to one another.'

PUFFER Robots - From Philip K DIck's Second Variety?
'Across the ground something small and metallic came, flashing in the dull sunlight of midday.'

Russian Space Garden
'We saw the gardens, flooded with artificial sunlight...'

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.