The ASSISIbf team gathers in GRAZ for a training session on the CASU array functionality. The Zagreb team has produced a 3×3 CASU array, the first prototype of the VRRI (Virtual Reality to Reality Interface), the device designed to help us communicate with groups of honeybees in novel ways. The Graz and Zagreb teams have been debugging and finalizing the prototype for the past three weeks, just as the honeybees are starting to wake up from their winter hibernation. Researchers form Lisboa and Lausanne have joined them today, for a week of intensive experimentation.
The plan for the week is to perform two types of experiments:
- Several individual experiments to showcase the stimuli-generating and sensing capabilities of the CASU array
- Collective behavior experiments, closing the loop between the bees and CASUs
Furthermore, EPFL’s Marcelo Elias de Oliveria will modify and test the real-time image tracking system in the Bee-arena. His tracking software is already being successfully used in zebrafish experiments in Paris, and Marcelo will use this week to make the modifications necessary for tracking the bees.
After some overcoming some technical difficulties on day 1, we were able to conduct the first successful experiments on the second day of the workshop. We analyzed the heat propagation properties of the arena by heating and cooling one CASU and observing the arena with a thermal camera.
In the second experimental set of the day, bees and CASUs made first contact. We released a group of 40 bees into the arena and let them wander around. The CASUs were programmed to signal bee detections (made by the IR sensors) with the diagnostic LED.