Report on Robotic Nests for Ants

  • 09 Pages
  • Published On: 24-11-2023

Executive summary

The research aimed to come up with a system that can be used for altering the heights, light intensity, and the entrance of the ant’s nests. Generally, ants are always busy during the day, and therefore, increasing the heights of light intensity would make it easy for the T.albipennis ants to find and detect food. Modifying lights intensity mainly triggers activities in the ant’s brain. Additionally, the researches were also aimed at computer vision for the automatic tracking of nest occupancy and evaluate the viability of the systems developed and the use of a general-purpose framework for rapid automation in a laboratory setting. Several artificial ants (start-up configuration) are released from the nest to drill for food (search) (goal configuration). To create potential links from the nest to the target, a 1- TREE (uni-directional) searching technique is applied in the process of foraging. Preliminary test results suggest that the ACRMP will minimize an intermediate set up in a reasonable working period between the original and the target configuration (Vardy, 2018). The project aims to develop automatic systems for altering artificial nest height, input width, and light intensity. Create alternate vision solutions for automated nest occupancy monitoring. For that reason, the research also tried to produce a reusable nest enclosure design for manufacture using the rapid fabrication technologies of 3D printing and laser cutting as an objective to help in the research. In addition, the research also introduced a control system that is capable of controlling the heights of the rectangular nets. This was introduced in the research to try and minimize gaps that have been witnessed in the previous research. To archive this, the objective of the research was also to integrate an intensity management system with ease of incorporation in the framework of the nest, which achieves a minimum light transmission range of 10-80 percent. The device must be able to identify ants that pass into or out of nests and preferably be consistent (if an ant has a second ant on his back) At least 70 percent accuracy is required, as reported by the Ant Labor participants. The SMART objectives for the research were to achieve 70% accuracy. Organizations frequently struggle to develop objectives that effectively evaluate progress toward a goal while also being relevant to other team members or stakeholders. A SMART goal is SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, RELEVANT, AND TIME-BINDING (Grasso et al., 2020). The participants of the research made sure that the research is free from errors to achieve the targeted scientific value. .


Summary of strengths, weaknesses


Over the years several pieces of research have been conducted on T.albipennis but no researcher has come about with concise research that addresses both the aims and the objectives of this report. However, this research has tried to dig deep into the matter providing the reader with all the basics that are needed for research hence it has managed to archive a scientific value in the research. The introduction of a rapid prototyping methodology is also a great step that can lead the research to achieve its aims. The project is considered a success because of the advent of the affordable CAD-CAM system that can facilitate near production and functionality quality of the system. This happens in a fraction of the time that is needed. This is coordinated with the scale that will bring in quality production methods. Nevertheless, the researchers employed the use of critical thinking during the research process hence machining them to archive the final product of the research. For instance, due to critical thinking, the research was able to archive, Nest Quality Control, and Nest Occupancy Detection. They used a CAD that required constructing geometric parameter-defined machine models. These models commonly appear like a 3-dimensional image of a component or system of parts on a computer display and can be conveniently changed by modifying the necessary parameters. CAD systems allow designers to display and test objects under a wide range of images by simulating real-world environments. (Grasso et al., 2020). CAD device simulation provides many benefits over standard construction approaches using rulers, squares, and compasses. For one, without deleting or drawing, designs may be changed.


The research has not articulated how it would control and manage the potential drawbacks that can lead to the failure of the research. The final project would cooperate with rapid automation with the desired advantages to satisfy the end-user needs. However, the research has failed to state how it will maintain the rapid automation to maintain the end consumer’s needs. Most ant form transport networks, whether forging pathways that link food sources and the principal colony of underground galleries, connect the nest's various parts. Contrarily, the research has not clearly stated whether there would be numerous pathways linking to the food source or multiple. Additionally, the research did not look at a way to control the Red filter. This is a crude method for simulating darkness, providing no fine-grain control of light intensity that should be controlled. Manual methods make it impossible to alter the entrance width of existing nests without disturbing the colony and therefore this serves as the biggest weakness in this research project. The use of manual counting is one of the biggest limitations that could make the research lose its mining. Manual counting methods are inaccurate and time-consuming, making it impossible to track occupancy in real-time.

High-level summary

It took the ants very long to initiate actions like social transport (when one ant takes another to a new nest to accelerate migration). The migration mass could take about three hours from the destruction of their nest. Established habits have been found in tandem running and social transport, which suggest that ants are like a legacy nest in robotics. The results of the research proved that Pheromone trails play an essential role during drilling activities in many anthrax species by directing workers to previously encountered tools or helping them find their way back to their nests (Khaluf et al., 2019). Videos on migration were taken and then analyzed to calculate the effective rate of counting and determine the IR interruption occupancy identification precision. Four randomly chosen times points were selected from the relocation, and a 10-minute record was then analyzed. The active and missed counting instances were manually calculated by monitoring the feed in the entry camera and the live console debug. Integrate an intensity management system with ease of incorporation in the nest's framework, which achieves a minimum light transmission range of 10-80 percent (Olaronke et al., 2020). The device must identify ants that pass into or out of nests and preferably be consistent (if an ant has a second ant on his back). At least 70 percent accuracy is required, as reported by the Ant Labor participants (Chandrasekhar et al., 2018). The findings indicate that an ant's comportment doesn't involve such a complicated cognitive process. However, many analyses of anti-made networks focus on the efficacy of their topological characteristics (see, for example, we can show that their geometric arrangements often affect individuals' spatial distribution and hence the colony's foraging ability (Khaluf et al., 2019). We also suspect that local geometric restrictions inside an ant nest could create favored moving and workers' paths. Similarly, several experiments on swarm robotics have shown those interacting robots can contribute to building mutual patterns.

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Discussion of ethical issues associated with the project

"Morality" and "ethics" are often used interchangeably. However, it is useful for us to differentiate between the two. Morality here refers to a specific class of values and principles which lead us in everyday life. The research tried to archive scientific values that can be used to promote the research (Deshpande, 2017). That is seen in the in-depth research that was conducted and the procedure that led to the achievement of developing the T.albipennis ant’s nests. The fourth type of morals being transformed into ethics is by technological cultures. The general idea of the research was to help ants to find food and not to alter their movements or activities. This can be considered as one of the grates ethical concerns of the research. To adapt to accelerating changes in the atmosphere, climate, and biodiversity, environmental scientists and engineers have investigated study and surveillance applications in robotics and developing approaches to incorporate robotics into ecosystems (Hamad & Hasan, 2020). These emerging ant robotic applications and other individual developments pose new legal and functional challenges. However, to date, no consideration has been given in the ethics of robotics literature to the actual uses of robots for environmental science, architecture, safety & remedy (Pfeffer & Wolf, 2020). Nevertheless, the robotic nets can alter the ant’s movements and that could ethically stop them from looking for food in one direction. Worldwide, unprecedented and growing environmental changes exist, including climate change and declines in biodiversity that endanger valuable energy, economies, and public protection (Vardy, 2018, September). The robot would be incorporated with a lithium polymer battery to maintain the power supply to the ant's systems. The robot is also designed with a micro-USB port that is purposely meant for charging lithium polymer batteries. This means that the research has employed environmental ethics and thus why they decided to use rechargeable batteries in order not to pollute the environment. Another important factor within the robot's proposed construction is a monitoring camera with wireless streaming; this would be used to monitor and control the ant's movements. Ethically this is an important part because; they would be monitoring the movement of the robotic ant and making sure that it does not interfere or affect the movement of the ants.


In conclusion, with the research that has been conducted it is quite clear that this is enough to help the research go into the next stage. It is also important for the researchers to maintain ethical concerns in all the stages. In addition, they should consider the weakness that have been pointed out in the first stage before they proceed to the next and try to minimize the weakness.


Chandrasekhar, A., Gordon, D. M., & Navlakha, S. (2018). A distributed algorithm to maintain and repair the trail networks of arboreal ants. Scientific reports, 8(1), 1-19.

Crogan, P. (2019). Visions of swarming robots: Artificial intelligence and stupidity in the military-industrial projection of the future of warfare. In Cyborg Futures (pp. 89-112). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Deshpande, A. (2017). Robot swarm based on ant foraging hypothesis with adaptive lèvy flights (Doctoral dissertation, University of Cincinnati).

Grasso, D. A., Giannetti, D., Castracani, C., Spotti, F. A., & Mori, A. (2020). Rolling away: a novel context-dependent escape behavior discovered in ants. Scientific reports, 10(1), 1-9.

Hamad, I., & Hasan, M. (2020). A review: On using ACO based hybrid algorithms for path planning of Multi-Mobile Robotics.

Khaluf, Y., Vanhee, S., & Simoens, P. (2019). Local ant system for allocating robot swarms to time-constrained tasks. Journal of Computational Science, 31, 33-44.

Olaronke, I., Rhoda, I., Gambo, I., Oluwaseun, O., & Janet, O. (2020). A Systematic Review of Swarm Robots. Current Journal of Applied Science and Technology, 79-97.

Pfeffer, S., & Wolf, H. (2020). Arthropod spatial cognition. Animal Cognition, 1-9.

Vardy, A. (2018, September). Orbital construction: Swarms of simple robots building enclosures.

In 2018 IEEE 3rd International Workshops on Foundations and Applications of Self* Systems (FAS* W) (pp. 147-153). IEEE.

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