Scientists in the U.K. are working on a buzzworthy project that will scan the brains of bees and then build models of them, creating robots that will act like the real thing.
The goal of the $1.61 million study, called "Green Brain," is to create a robotic brain that can perform tasks as well as the brain of an animal.
Scientists hope bionic bees could be used for life saving jobs, such as search and rescue missions or detecting the source of a gas leak.
"The development of an artificial brain is one of the greatest challenges in Artificial Intelligence," said Dr. James Marshall, who is leading the research at the Universities of Sheffield and Sussex. "So far, researchers have typically studied brains such as those of rats, monkeys, and humans, but actually 'simpler' organisms such as social insects have surprisingly advanced cognitive abilities."
The study is being funded by the U.K.'s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Scientists say they hope to have the bionic bee buzzing by 2015.