Various types of living organisms on our planet are capable of forming collective groups. For example, flocks of starlings have synchronized movement. Barracudas move in circles. Ungulates prefer to keep a single herd. The researchers from the University of Constanta decided to use modern robotics to define collective patterns of animal groups, their internal states and interactions.
With its help, they were able to find out that the speed of movement in such groups is important for the collective model of behavior. The fastest become leaders, controlling the rest of the individuals.
The study of these features will make it possible to create robotic systems that move in a single rhythm. Identifying collective patterns has long attracted the attention of the scientists. The combination of behavioral experiments, computer models, and observations in real conditions reveal relatively simple rules: to move at the same pace with the rest.
These rules are followed not only by animals, but also by people in society. A leading author, Jolle Jolles believes that collectivity is increasingly being found in the animal world, and it is important for science to know the implications of this social behavior.
Robotic Robofish looks realistic. In addition, it behaves like a guppy fish. It was programmed in such a way that it would follow its real living partners, copy their movements, but without showing its own initiative.
Then the scientists installed high-resolution video tracking cameras with a feedback system so that the robot could respond to the actions of the live fish in real time. The basic rule of the robot fish was to constantly keep a certain distance from its neighbor.
The robot always accelerated or decelerated, just like its living neighbor. Robot programming created a unique opportunity to explore individual differences in the behavior of living fish, which showed social ramifications at the level of one group. An isolation study of the speed of movement of a living fish showed the collective behavior of a pair. The fastest guppies in such cases became the leaders of the pair.