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Bee Communicator 2

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See the first version [link] for background info, if you are unfamiliar with how bees communicate the locations of nectary flowers to each other. That idea proposed to simulate a bee performing a waggle dance using a fake bee on a stick, actuated by a motor and some sort of mechanism.

In this idea, I propose instead to use some kind of screen, such as an LCD or OLED screen, inside the beehive, displaying a generated moving image of a bee performing a waggle dance. This minimizes moving parts and should reduce cost somewhat, because such screens are already mass-produced. It also increases adaptability; the image can be adjusted to see what characteristics the bees respond to. In this way, it can be used as a device for scientific experiments on bee communication, not just as a practical device for beekeepers to tell their bees where to go.

The screen should be retractable, so as to avoid blocking off the honeycomb behind it when the bees need to access it, and it should also have a textured surface that bees can easily walk on, so that the real bees can also perform their own waggle dances on it (to avoid extending/retracting between consecutive dances, which may be disruptive). It can also be a touchscreen, to record the real bees' waggle dances, and thereby notify the beekeepers or scientists of where they've found flowers.

The screen may need to be capable of displaying ultraviolet light (which, I think, should be possible with only minimal retooling of the production line), because the bees may not pay attention to it if it doesn't have a similar spectrum to a real bee. But this is one of the things it can be used to experiment on. Others include the bees' acceptance of various values of realisticity of the bee image and its motion, for example.

It can also be equipped with:
* speakers (because I hypothesize based on nothing that bees may respond in some way to sounds during the waggle dance, and speakers are cheap enough to include on a lark*), -(ETA: apparently bees do detect sound by the same mechanism as they detect electric fields [link])-
* magnetic field sensors and coils (because apparently waggle dances' orientation is influenced in a predictable way by the ambient magnetic field [link]),
* odor emitters (because apparently bees also respond strongly to flower scents as a communication of where to go [link], and bees emit specific pheromones while dancing [link]),
* radios that emit signals similar to cell phone signals (because apparently bees can be confused by those [link]), and
* electric field emitters (possibly a secondary use of capacitive touchscreen electrodes) (because apparently the bees in the audience pick up on the dancer's electric field to observe her motion [link]),
to experiment with the effect of those variables on the bees' interpretation of the dance.

As well, it can be used to try to find ways to tell bees where *not* to go (e.g. because there are predators, neonicotinoids, or nectar that results in bad-tasting honey there). Maybe this can be done by building a compound dance out of the waggle dance and the tremble dance [link], which is used currently to tell other bees "don't go out foraging right now, but instead help me unload the nectar I'm carrying".

Apparently, also, real bees' waggle dance is quite inaccurate in conveying the direction and distance of the nectar source. If the communicator is used to communicate more accurately than the bees do, this could be used to experiment with training the bees themselves to dance more accurately, which might result in an increase (or a decrease) in the hive's foraging efficiency.

*Google didn't give me any pages saying larks predate bees, so this should be fine.

66/440 [2019-05-23]

notexactly, Jun 14 2019

Bee Communicator Mentioned in idea body. Non-inspiratory prior art by [st3f] [notexactly, Jun 14 2019]

Citation for waggle dance orientation being influenced predictably by ambient magnetic field https://web.archive...2000/apjul_2000.htm
Mentioned in idea body. See last section on page, titled "SOCIAL INSECTS AND THE EARTH'S MAGNETIC FIELD: MAGNETITE IN BEES AND ANTS" [notexactly, Jun 14 2019]

Citation for bees responding strongly to flower scents as a communication of where to go https://web.archive.../wenner/jib2002.htm
Mentioned in idea body. A review as of 2002 of the "failure" of the waggle dance language hypothesis (which has since been shown to be correct), which discusses how bees respond to flower scents as a communication of where to find nectar [notexactly, Jun 14 2019]

Citation for bees being confused by cell phone signals Bee fence
Mentioned in idea body. Idea by [2 fries] on making a fence to keep hostile bees out by confusing them with cellular phone-like radio signals [notexactly, Jun 14 2019]

Citation for pheromones emitted by dancing bees https://www.ncbi.nl...rticles/PMC1994260/
Mentioned in idea body. "waggle-dancing bees produce and release two alkanes, tricosane and pentacosane, and two alkenes, Z-(9)-tricosene and Z-(9)-pentacosene, onto their abdomens and into the air." [notexactly, Jun 14 2019]

Citation for bees recepting the electric field (and sound?) of the dancer https://www.ncbi.nl...rticles/PMC3619523/
Mentioned in idea body. "bees emit constant and modulated electric fields […] during the waggle dance. […] Both components induce passive antennal movements in stationary bees according to Coulomb's law. Bees learn both the constant and the modulated electric field components in the context of appetitive proboscis extension response conditioning. Using this paradigm, we identify mechanoreceptors in both joints of the antennae as sensors. […] Using laser vibrometry, we show that the electrically charged flagellum is moved by constant and modulated electric fields and more strongly so if sound and electric fields interact." [notexactly, Jun 14 2019]

Wikipedia: Tremble dance https://en.wikipedi.../wiki/Tremble_dance
Mentioned in idea body [notexactly, Jun 14 2019]


       Do bees actually watch the dance? I thought it was dark inside a hive, and they rely on physical contact with the dancing bee.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 14 2019

       That's one of the things it can be used to experiment on, I guess. Also, the screen can/will be luminous. Maybe even if bees don't naturally watch the waggle dance visually, they can learn to?   

       I also added some more communication modalities to experiment with.
notexactly, Jun 14 2019

       My pet theory is that colony collapse was started when one of the bees saw Dance, Dance, Revolution and unintentionally misdirected the hive to the Bermuda Triangle.
RayfordSteele, Jun 15 2019


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