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What termites can teach robots

Jim Bendon / Flickr

Termites, ants, and bees are known for the massive, complex habitats they construct for their colonies. Computer scientists from Harvard have cracked part of the code that lets termites build their mounds. By studying animal models like this one, published Tuesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, scientists hope to develop better codes for robots.

Why they did it: It's common for roboticists and programmers to look to nature for inspiration. Machines that work in groups face some of the same challenges that insects do, Ben Green, an author of the study and mathematician at Harvard, tells Axios. Green says that like insects, "each device only has a small set of knowledge, so they need to work together to find a solution."