Ant colonies flow like fluid to build tall towers

After a flood, thousands of homeless fire ants pile on top of one another to build bizarro towers with their own bodies — probably as temporary shelters. All the complex construction project needs is for each individual ant to follow a few simple rules, new research says. And, if wriggling ant towers weren’t nightmarish enough, this discovery could help engineer robot swarms that are even better at cooperating. Fire ants are native to the wetlands of Brazil, so they’re accustomed to torrential rainy seasons. When their nests inevitably flood, thousands of ants rapidly link up with one another to form floating rafts. And when the raft drifts to solid land, the ants clamber up around a nearby blade of grass or stick to build a bell-shaped... Continue reading…

Ant colonies flow like fluid to build tall towers

Insects' structural secrets offer model for designing swarm robots.

Wed 12 Jul 17 from Nature News

Ants build living towers that flow to fight endless collapse

The rules that guide fire ants to make tall towers with their own bodies could be applied to miniature search-and-rescue robots

Tue 11 Jul 17 from Newscientist

Fire ants self-organise to build towers to reach safety

A new study shows how individual fire ants follow simple rules to achieve dramatic collective action.

Tue 11 Jul 17 from Cosmos Magazine

See Fire Ants Create Towers From Their Own Bodies

Fri 14 Jul 17 from National Geographic

Fire Ants Build Sinking 'Eiffel Towers' from Their Own Bodies

Fire ants can build miniature look-alikes of the Eiffel Tower from their own bodies, and the insects perpetually rebuild the structures to save them from collapsing, a new study finds.

Wed 12 Jul 17 from Livescience

Fire ants uses their bodies to build huge 'Eiffel Towers'

Research from Georgia Tech University in Atlanta found that each ant wanders around aimlessly following a certain set of rules until it unknowingly helps construct a tower several inches tall. ...

Tue 11 Jul 17 from Daily Mail

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