The ‘Anternet’—Ancient and Cutting Edge

Harvester Ants Increase Knowledge about Networked Systems Deborah Gordon, a Stanford biology professor who has studied ants for 20 years, found something extraordinarily sophisticated about the way harvester ants forage for food. She discovered that the ant colonies regulate their foraging activities based on the amount of food available and the amount of time it takes for a round trip between the nest and the food. Gordon recognized that this particular ant behavior approximates the way the Internet works, so she invited Stanford Computer Science Professor Balaji Prabhakar to have a look. Their collaboration is described in a Stanford News

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Tiny Teams Move Mighty Masses

Ants Are Model for Tiny Powerful Robots Researchers have developed a team of robot that can apply tiny amounts of force in concert to move objects thousands of times their own weight. The team members are six microrobots weighing a mere 3.5 ounces together, and they can pull car that weighs more two tons.  The micro-robots, modeled after ants, are so tiny their pieces had to be put together with tweezers. The car is the one that researcher David Christensen uses to commute to the Biomimetics and Dexterous Manipulation Laboratory on the Stanford University campus. Christensen told The New York

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