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I love living in the world of the future. Dubbed Project Green Brain, the engineering teams at the Universities of Sheffield and Sussex are writing computer models of the brains of bees, specifically the systems in the brain that interpret a bee’s vision and sense of smell. They intend to link this to robotic sensors designed to perceive the same stimulus and install it into a flying robot. The purpose of the project is to advance understanding of simple non-human brain structures and artificial intelligence, but they already have a number of practical applications in mind, from search and rescue in dangerous environments such as mines or nuclear power plants, to finding the source of gas leaks, to actually pollinating crops in areas where hive collapse has eradicated real bees. As long as they don’t include stingers I think this will be a project worth following, particularly since this is the first Artificial Intelligence project I know of that is being designed to run on desktop PCs rather than supercomputers.