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Ant research: Dr Nigel Franks uses pooter device

Ant research: Dr Nigel Franks uses pooter device

G355/0010

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Credit

JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Ant research. Dr Nigel Franks looks for ants in the field, and will use his "pooter" device to suck up the insects for study in the laboratory. Research on the social behaviour of ants by Dr Franks of the University of Bath, England, may benefit computer scientists and roboticists. Franks believes that ant colonies are superb examples of self-organising systems. As a group, without a leader, ants collectively solve complex problems by individually doing simple tasks, such as finding the shortest route to food. Computers may be designed in this way to work simultaneously on different elements of the same problem, or robots to work together as teams.

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