, Volume 199, Issue 11, pp 1037-1052
Date: 08 Jun 2013

Insect–machine hybrid system for understanding and evaluating sensory-motor control by sex pheromone in Bombyx mori

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To elucidate the dynamic information processing in a brain underlying adaptive behavior, it is necessary to understand the behavior and corresponding neural activities. This requires animals which have clear relationships between behavior and corresponding neural activities. Insects are precisely such animals and one of the adaptive behaviors of insects is high-accuracy odor source orientation. The most direct way to know the relationships between neural activity and behavior is by recording neural activities in a brain from freely behaving insects. There is also a method to give stimuli mimicking the natural environment to tethered insects allowing insects to walk or fly at the same position. In addition to these methods an ‘insect–machine hybrid system’ is proposed, which is another experimental system meeting the conditions necessary for approaching the dynamic processing in the brain of insects for generating adaptive behavior. This insect–machine hybrid system is an experimental system which has a mobile robot as its body. The robot is controlled by the insect through its behavior or the neural activities recorded from the brain. As we can arbitrarily control the motor output of the robot, we can intervene at the relationship between the insect and the environmental conditions.