A team of engineers was able to make fish and bees communicate with each other through robots that were designed to blend into groups of animals.
The experiment, carried out by engineers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) and four other European universities, consisted in infiltrating a robot into a school of fish in Switzerland and another one into a colony of bees in Austria, and establishing a connection between the two species.
"We created an unprecedented bridge between the two animal communities, enabling them to exchange some of their dynamics,” The Phys.org website quoted Frank Bonnet, a researcher at EPFL's Mobile Robots Group (MOBOTS), as saying.
The robot in the bee colony emitted signals in the form of vibrations, temperature variations and air movements, while the other one in the school of fish transmitted signals in the form of shapes and colors. Both species were seen reacting to the signals.
"The robots acted as if they were negotiators and interpreters in an international conference. Through the various information exchanges, the two groups of animals gradually came to a shared decision," said Professor Francesco Mondada.