7 July 2014
BBC Radio 4 - Frontiers: Swarming Robots
John Innes Centre scientists Veronica Grieneisen and Samantha Fox, appeared on BBC Radio 4's weekly science show Frontiers, to discuss how understanding cell organisation and development influence research into developing swarm robots.
The episode of Frontiers, titled Swarming Robots, featured Samantha Fox, from the Coen Lab at the John Innes Centre, commenting on the nature of individual leaf cells,and their ability to decide the best approach for growth and development individually, based on their position within the leaf.
Ultimately, Dr Grieneisen, who is a Project Leader in the Swarm-Organ project and leads the efforts of developing swarms that can change patterning according to environmental stimuli, is hoping to translate such understanding of the physical and chemical triggers for plant growth into new, useful approaches to robot design.
Importantly, the Grieneisen Lab will study how the genetic regulatory networks which guide the decision processes of plant cells to differentiate tissue types (See 'Flip-flop' switch discovered behind key cellular process - August 2012), according to environmental and hormonal cues, can be exploited to make swarms which are more adaptable to environmental changes and robust to internal damage, noisy signals and conflicting cues.